Sudanese capital quiet as 24-hour ceasefire takes hold

Sudanese capital quiet as 24-hour ceasefire takes hold
# 10 June 2023 17:25 (UTC +04:00)

The Sudanese capital Khartoum was relatively calm on Saturday morning as a U.S. and Saudi-brokered 24-hour ceasefire took effect, providing a window for humanitarian assistance and giving the public a break from the intense fighting, APA reports citing Reuters.

The short ceasefire follows a string of violated truces between Sudan's army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), whose power struggle erupted into violence eight weeks ago, sparking a humanitarian crisis.

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia said they shared "frustration" over the violations in a statement announcing the latest truce, and they threatened to adjourn the talks, which have continued indirectly, if fighting continues.

The fighting which began on April 15, has turned the metropolitan area including Khartoum and its sister cities Bahri and Omdurman into a war zone, and led to conflict in Sudan's Darfur and Kordofan regions to the west.

Before the start of the truce at 6 a.m. (0400 GMT), residents reported anti-aircraft missiles firing in southern Khartoum and the Sharg el-Nil district across the Nile, which also saw air strikes.

The fighting has displaced more than 1.9 million people, 200,000 or more of whom have crossed the border into Egypt.

Those who have taken the long journey have complained of poor conditions and long wait times.

On Saturday two people attempting to cross the Ashkeit border crossing said a new rule had come into effect requiring all Sudanese to obtain a visa before entering Egypt.

The Egyptian foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment on the decision, which is a reversal of a previous agreement between the two countries that had guaranteed children, women and elderly men free movement.

"We spent two nights in the neutral territory and now they are turning us back," said Sundus Abbas, a doctor speaking to Reuters by phone from between the countries' checkpoints. "Some people are refusing to leave," she said.