HomeMiddle EastSudan to resume talks in Saudi Arabia as battles continue in Khartoum

Sudan to resume talks in Saudi Arabia as battles continue in Khartoum

Khartoum residents have described fierce battles with fighters roaming the streets and little sign that Sudan’s warring sides are respecting an agreement to protect civilians ahead of ceasefire talks that are due to resume in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Fighting has rocked Khartoum and adjacent areas, as well as Geneina in the Darfur region, since the warring army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary force agreed on a “declaration of principles” on Thursday.

“It was much worse this morning compared to the last two days. You could clearly hear that tanks and RSF were patrolling the streets more than usual,” Hani Ahmed, 28, told the Reuters news agency.

The conflict that broke out a month ago has killed hundreds of people, sent more than 200,000 to neighboring states, displaced another 700,000 within the country and risks attracting foreign powers and destabilizing the region.

The two sides have fought through previous truces and have shown no sign of willingness to compromise. Although RSF promised to uphold Thursday’s agreement, the army has yet to comment on it.

Neither side appears capable of securing a quick victory, with the army able to resort to air power, but the RSF entrenched in the capital’s residential districts.

“We only see the army in the sky, but in terms of face-to-face contact, we only see the RSF. They are the ones on the ground,” Ahmed said.

For civilians, the conflict has unleashed a nightmare of shelling, random shooting, home invasions and lootingamid faltering power supplies, food and water shortages, and little chance of medical help for injuries.

“Our neighborhood is now completely under the control of RSF. They loot and harass people and wander around, always armed, taking refuge wherever they want,” said Duaa Tariq, 30, an art curator in Khartoum.

Tariq told Reuters he hoped the talks in Jeddah could lead to a ceasefire but had doubts, adding: “We really can’t trust either side because they don’t have control of their soldiers on the ground.”

In the capital’s twin city, Omdurman, “houses are shaking from the force of the explosions,” a witness told the AFP news agency on Saturday, reporting armed clashes.

Representatives of both generals have been in the Saudi city of Jeddah for a week for talks aimed at “protecting Sudan from any escalation that leads to a humanitarian catastrophe,” a Saudi diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.

the resumed talks in jeddah It will begin by discussing ways to implement the existing agreement, then move to a lasting ceasefire that could pave the way for civilian rule, officials said.

Saudi Arabia has invited army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to attend the Arab League summit in Jeddah on May 19, a senior Saudi diplomat said, but he is not expected to leave Sudan for security reasons, others said. two diplomats in the Gulf.

Al-Burhan was invited because he is the head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, in which his rival, RSF chief Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, is a deputy.

Saudi Arabia has had close ties with both men since the army and RSF sent troops to help the Saudi-led coalition in its war against Houthi forces in Yemen.

Some of the worst fighting has taken place in Darfur, where a simmering war has raged since 2003, killing 300,000 people and displacing 2.5 million.

The Darfur Bar Association, a local rights group, said at least 77 people were killed in Geneina, where fighting broke out on Friday after a two-week lull.

“Armed groups on motorcycles and RSF vehicles attacked on Friday and continue to commit murder, looting, arson and terror,” the group said.

RSF has denied moving from its positions in Darfur and blamed the fighting there on the army and loyalists of former president Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in 2019, saying they had armed civilians.

Source link

- Advertisment -