Sudan factions agree to seven-day ceasefire

Sudanese army leaders and the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have agreed to a seven-day ceasefire from May 4 to 11.

This was disclosed on Tuesday by the South Sudan Foreign Ministry in a statement.

The statement comes days Salva Kiir, South Sudan president began mediating between the two sides, as the representative of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional alliance.

Kiir seeks to bring an end to the fighting between the forces of Sudan’s de facto president Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and those of his deputy, Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, who leads the RSF.

Al-Burhan and Daglo agreed to name representatives for negotiations to be held in South Sudan’s capital Juba, the statement said.

The ministry said no date for the start of the negotiations has yet been set.

The rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation makes de-escalation of the conflict imperative, it said.

Several 72-hour ceasefires have been called since fighting broke out on April 15, but these have been broken repeatedly.

At the end of last week, the Ministry of Health reported around 530 dead and some 4,600 injured as a result of the fighting.

In the chaos of the fighting, however, it is difficult for the authorities to keep an overview, and the true numbers are thought to be far higher.

The UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said at least 334,000 people have become internally displaced in Sudan since the violence broke out.

An IOM spokesman said that the majority of them, around 240,000 people, are displaced in the areas of South and West Darfur, in the west of the country.

Even before the recent clashes began, there were 3.7 million people displaced in Sudan due to previous conflicts.

Meanwhile, the number of people from Sudan seeking refuge in neighbouring countries has exceeded 100,000, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

Many have arrived in Chad, South Sudan, and Egypt.

Among them are Sudanese, but also refugees from other countries who had found shelter in Sudan.

“UNHCR, with governments and partners, is preparing for the possibility that over 800,000 people may flee the fighting in Sudan for neighbouring countries,” UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi tweeted on Monday.

“We hope it doesn’t come to that,” he added.

Al-Burhan has been fighting his deputy Daglo with the help of the military since April 15.

The two generals took over the leadership of the country of about 46 million through two military coups in 2019 and 2021.

Hundreds of people have been killed since the fighting began.

Governments from across the world have launched evacuation missions to airlift their citizens to safety.

The United States has evacuated more than 700 people from Sudan over the past three days, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.

Three U.S. convoys had arrived in Port Sudan on the Red Sea since Saturday, taking more than 700 U.S. citizens, their families and nationals from allied and partner countries to safety, a department spokesman told a media briefing.

“This successful operation would not have been possible without the dedication and bravery of our locally employed staff who facilitated the movements from Khartoum during an arduous overland journey to Port Sudan,” he said.

Since the beginning of the fighting in mid-April, the U.S. had taken more than 1,000 of its citizens out of Sudan to safety, the spokesman said.

Embassy staff and their families were evacuated directly from Khartoum by the U.S. military.

“We are working tirelessly and around the clock to ensure those who have sought our assistance in Sudan that they are aware of all options for evacuation.”

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