Sudan conflict shows no sign of easing, U.N. warns of breaking point

Sudan conflict shows no sign of easing, U.N. warns of breaking point
# 01 May 2023 12:52 (UTC +04:00)

Fighting could be heard in Khartoum early on Monday despite a supposed ceasefire extension and the United Nations warned of a humanitarian "breaking point" as clashes between rival military forces entered a third week, APA reports citing Reuters.

Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands wounded since long-simmering tension between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) erupted into conflict on April 15.

Both sides agreed on Sunday to extend a much-violated humanitarian ceasefire that had been due to expire at midnight for a further 72 hours, in a move the RSF said was "in response to international, regional and local calls".

The army said it hoped what it called the "rebels" would abide by the deal but it believed they had intended to keep up attacks. On Monday morning, the sound of artillery, airstrikes and anti-aircraft fire was audible in the capital Khartoum.

Many fear for their lives as Sudan's two most powerful men prosecute war in a country that has faced civil wars, coups and economic hardship for decades.

"I have to keep working, especially in these circumstances. Everything is more expensive," said Abdelbagi, a barber in the capital Khartoum. "I show up to work for two or three hours then I close up because it's not safe."

Violence has paralysed the city and risks reawakening war in the vast Western region of Darfur scarred by a two-decade old conflict, despite numerous ceasefire pledges.

Together, the army and RSF toppled a civilian government in an October 2021 coup but their power struggle has derailed an internationally-backed transition to democracy and is threatening to destabilise a volatile region.

At least 528 people have been killed and 4,599 wounded, the health ministry said. The United Nations has reported a similar number of dead but believes the real toll is much higher.