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Fighting eases in Sudan after truce, but humanitarian crisis continues

Khartoum has been calmer as a seven-day ceasefire appeared to reduce fighting between two rival military factions although it has not yet provided the promised humanitarian relief to millions trapped in the Sudanese capital.

On Saturday, witnesses said that Khartoum was calmer, although sporadic clashes were reported overnight and in the afternoon in the city’s southern districts and Omdurman across the Nile.

In a statement on Saturday, the RSF accused the army of violating the ceasefire and destroying the country’s mint in an air strike. The army had accused the RSF on Friday of targeting the mint.

The army said meanwhile that its call on Friday for army reservists was a partial mobilisation and constitutional measure, adding that it expected large numbers to respond to the call.

Those who remain in Khartoum are struggling with failures of services such as electricity, water and phone networks. Looters have ransacked homes, mostly in well-off neighbourhoods. Food supplies are dwindling.

On Saturday, Sudanese police said they were expanding deployment and also called in able retired officers to help.

“Our neighbourhood has become a war zone. Services have collapsed and chaos has spread in Khartoum,” said 52-year-old Ahmed Salih, a resident of the city.

“No one is bothered to help the Sudanese people, neither the government nor internationally. We are humans, where is the humanity?” he added.

Bureaucratic, security issues

A truce signed on Monday by the two fighting parties – Sudan’s army and a paramilitary group called the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) – aimed to secure safe passage for humanitarian aid and lead to wider talks sponsored by the United States and Saudi Arabia.

The UN and aid agencies say that despite the truce they have struggled to get the bureaucratic approvals and security guarantees to transport aid and staff in safer parts of the country to Khartoum and other hot zones. Warehouses have been looted.

The UN World Food Programme on Saturday tweeted that it had begun providing food aid to people in Khartoum, but added that “safety, security, and access are critical so we can increase our support to 500,000 people”.

The conflict, which erupted on April 15, has killed at least 730 civilians and caused 1.3 million Sudanese to leave their homes, fleeting either abroad or to safer parts of the country.

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