Fragile Peace Amid Clashes and Challenges
Fragile Peace: As a seven-day ceasefire took effect, the atmosphere in Khartoum appeared calmer on Saturday morning, offering a brief respite from the ongoing fighting between rival military factions. The truce, signed on Monday between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF), aimed to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and pave the way for broader talks facilitated by the United States and Saudi Arabia. Witnesses reported a relative calmness in Khartoum, although sporadic clashes were still reported overnight, particularly in northwestern Khartoum and southern Omdurman.
Accusations and Challenges Amid Fragile Peace
In a statement on Saturday, the RSF accused the army of violating the ceasefire and conducting an airstrike that destroyed the country’s mint. Conversely, the army had accused the RSF on Friday of targeting the mint. Both sides traded blame, raising concerns about the sustainability of the ceasefire. Meanwhile, the army’s call for army reservists on Friday was described as a partial mobilization and constitutional measure, with the expectation of a significant response. The conflict, which started on April 15, has already claimed the lives of at least 730 civilians and displaced 1.3 million Sudanese, forcing them to seek refuge either abroad or in safer regions of the country.
(Also Read: UMISS Warns of Potential Unraveling of South Sudan Amid Ongoing Sudan Warj)
The situation in Khartoum remains dire for those who have not been able to leave the city. Essential services such as electricity, water, and phone networks are failing, exacerbating the difficulties faced by the population. Looters have taken advantage of the chaos, primarily targeting affluent neighborhoods and adding to the sense of insecurity and instability.
Despite the ceasefire, aid agencies continue to encounter challenges in delivering much-needed assistance. Bureaucratic hurdles and security concerns have hindered the transportation of aid and personnel to Khartoum and other volatile areas. The looting of warehouses has further hampered relief efforts, making it difficult to provide the necessary support to those affected.
(Read Also: “Violence in Sudan’s Darfur Region Sparks Mass Displacement and Humanitarian Crisis”)
Worsening Crisis and Reports of Rape
The conflict has also spread to the fragile Darfur region, particularly impacting the city of El Geneina. Militia attacks have devastated the infrastructure and claimed numerous lives, intensifying the humanitarian crisis in the area. Additionally, reports from the governmental Combating Violence Against Women and Children Unit indicate a disturbing rise in cases of sexual violence. Since the outbreak of the conflict, the unit has received reports of 25 cases of rape in Darfur and 24 cases in Khartoum. The victims described 43 assailants wearing RSF uniforms, either riding vehicles with RSF licenses or operating in RSF-controlled areas.
The unit expressed deep concern over the reports of gang rape, kidnappings, and sexual assault faced by women and girls while seeking basic necessities. The RSF has denied any involvement in sexual assaults or looting, but the gravity of the allegations adds another layer of complexity to the already dire situation.
(Read Also: Thousands Flee Brutal Conflict in Sudan, Stranded at South Sudan Border)