A week-long ceasefire is supposed to come into effect on Monday evening between the army and the paramilitaries who are vying for power in Sudan and are continuing, for the moment, their violent clashes.
US and Saudi mediators announced on Sunday that after two weeks of negotiations in Saudi Arabia, they had secured a one-week truce starting Monday at 3:45 p.m. Eastern Time.
The two camps have announced in a press release that they want to respect this truce, which the UN, the African Union and the East African bloc, IGAD, have welcomed. But in more than five weeks of war, a dozen ceasefires were promised and immediately violated.
“We don’t trust them: each time, they announce a truce and resume their fighting immediately,” says Adam Issa, a trader from Darfur, the western region of the country most affected by the fighting with Khartoum.
“The most important thing is not to announce a truce, but to respect it and guarantee secure corridors for food and aid,” added another resident of Khartoum.
Since April 15, the war between the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and the paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (FSR), of General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, has claimed a thousand lives in this East African country. ‘Is, one of the poorest in the world, and more than a million displaced people and refugees.
Finally see a doctor
The infrastructure has been badly damaged: almost all the hospitals in Khartoum and Darfur no longer work, and most of the five million inhabitants of the capital, holed up in their homes for those who were unable to flee, no longer have water or electricity.
In a country with closed banks and supply convoys interrupted by air raids, artillery fire and heavy gun battles between apartment buildings in residential neighborhoods, food is becoming increasingly scarce, and most food factories have been destroyed or looted.
Humanitarians are calling for safe corridors to deliver medicine, food and fuel, in order to revive services that have been crumbling for decades.
Again on Sunday, the head of UN humanitarian action, Martin Griffiths, pleaded for “the safe delivery of humanitarian aid” as more than 25 of the 45 million Sudanese need help.
And if the war continues, warns the UN, a million more Sudanese could take refuge in neighboring countries, which fear a contagion.
This time, assure Riyadh and Washington, there will be “a ceasefire monitoring mechanism” bringing together representatives of both sides as well as the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Hussein Mohammed, who lives in Khartoum, wants to believe it: “this time, we hope that the mediators will monitor the belligerents” and that they will be forced to silence their weapons. “This will allow me to take my mother to the doctor: she has to see him every week, but we haven’t been able to go since April 13,” he told Agence France-Presse (AFP). .
Sawsan Mohammed, meanwhile, hopes to be able to see her parents again. “They live in the north of the capital and I in the south, I haven’t seen them since April 5,” she told AFP.
First Sudanese director in Cannes
At the Vatican, Pope Francis called on “the international community to spare no effort […] to alleviate the suffering of the people.
Sudan was also invited to the Cannes Film Festival: the first Sudanese director to have a film in the selection, Mohamed Kordofani said he was “honored, proud, happy […]but also guilty”, because “while I am on the red carpet, people are trying to flee from the bombs”.
The two rival generals had together ousted civilians from power in Sudan in a putsch in October 2021. But on April 15, they went to war, and on Friday General Burhane replaced General Daglo as number two in military power. by Malik Agar, a former rebel who signed the peace agreement with Khartoum in 2020. He also appointed three of his followers to the top of the army.
Mr. Agar said on Saturday that he wanted to “stop the war and sit down at the negotiating table”. But for him, these negotiations go through the integration of the FSR into the regular army, a bone of contention between the two generals which triggered the conflict.
Since the start of the war, the two generals have been inveighing against each other through the media, but have not spoken since this announcement.
The UN envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes, is due to address the Security Council on Monday.