Sudan Army Demands Rivals Surrender, Cease-Fire on the Line

by Joshua Brown
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Khartoum, Sudan (AP) — The military of Sudan said on Thursday that it refused to negotiate with a different group of soldiers, and demanded them to surrender. Fighting has broken out in the capital city Khartoum and other places in Sudan. But this could destroy the newest attempt to make peace between both sides.

The military announced something that is likely to cause more violence in Sudan, which has already been going on for a week and is causing lots of pain to the people living there. There are fears that medical facilities might not be able to work anymore because some have already closed down and others are running out of supplies.

On Wednesday night, a break in fighting was called for 24 hours. Although there wasn’t complete calm in Khartoum, people used the opportunity to escape their homes which they had been stuck in for days. A lot of people, mainly women and children, left looking for safer places, reported Atiya Abdulla Atiya who works with the Doctors’ Syndicate.

Just before the time when the truce between two forces was about to end, the military announced that it won’t be discussing an end to this conflict with their rival -the Rapid Support Forces. They stated that no other armed force would exist outside military’s command.

If the truce falls apart, it means that the international community was unable to persuade Sudan’s highest generals – Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan and Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo – to stop fighting for control over the country.

On Tuesday, there had been an attempt to declare a truce, which was encouraged by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken over the phone with both generals; however, it didn’t last for long. After that, people have kept attempting to save this agreement and on Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talked on the phones to both generals too in order to bring back dialogue (conversation). The leaders from Egypt (which has ties with Sudan’s military) along with United Arab Emirates (links to RSF – Rapid Support Forces) talked about how best to turn the cease-fire into negotiations on Thursday as well.

According to the World Health Organization of The United Nations, 330 people have died and more than 3,300 have been injured as a result of clashes that started on Saturday. However, researchers think the death toll is even higher because there are still many bodies in the streets that haven’t been counted yet.

It was loud and noisy in Khartoum all day Thursday, with people hearing gunshots near the main military headquarters and airport. Some witnesses said they could actually see warplanes attacking RSF (a military force) positions at those places. The military also said that their planes have targeted a convoy of RSF vehicles on its way to the capital, but no one was able to confirm it.

People living in Khartoum have been stuck in their homes for days, running out of food and water. Atiya said that they can still hear gun shots and planes bombing above them, and things are getting worse.

The ceasefire between warring sides has not been strong enough to help get supplies and give aid to Sudan’s overwhelmed hospitals. Hospitals in Khartoum are running out of medical supplies, and often experience power cuts and a lack of clean water. About 70% of hospitals close to conflict areas across the country have stopped working, according to the Sudanese Doctors Syndicate. Nine hospitals have even been bombed!

The United Nations is worried that Sudan’s healthcare system could be in severe trouble. They say the hospitals need more staff, supplies and blood so they can stay open and functioning properly.

On Thursday, bombs dropped from airplanes created a lot of damage in Obeid city, located southwest of Khartoum. People reported that many people were injured or even killed during the attacks. As a result, hundreds of citizens had to leave their homes and move to nearby camps for displaced people escaping previous wars.

The fighting in the country has been a very bad situation. According to The United Nations, 16 million people in this country require help and support from other countries. UNICEF said that 50,000 children who are very hungry and not getting enough food need continuous care.

Save the Children reported that because of power outages, some special machines used to store vaccines and medicines like insulin and antibiotics were destroyed. This means millions of children are in danger of getting sick or having worse medical conditions. At least 12% of all 22 million children have malnutrition, making them more susceptible to diseases.

Some countries were getting ready to take their people out of Sudan. However, it was not clear how they would manage to do that since the airports in Khartoum and other towns had become fight zones.

Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada has asked the military to get ready for a plan to safely send around 60 Japanese nationals away from Djibouti, in Africa. The Netherlands also sent their military vehicles to Aqaba seaport, in Jordan – but they can’t take anyone out just yet.

The militaries of both Egypt and Sudan said that the Egyptian army managed to return dozens of its soldiers who had been taken captives by the Sudanese security forces. It happened in Merowe airport, near the capital city, when the fighting first started. The Egyptians stated that their soldiers were present there for a training mission and joint military exercises.

Four years ago, in Sudan people started a big protest to take away the power from their old leader Omar al-Bashir. After that, two generals Burhan and Dagalo took control of the country but this year they had some arguments about whether civilians should run the government again or not. This led to a lot of violence and fighting.

The RSF have done bad things in the past and are linked to the Janjaweed militias, who were responsible for a lot of horrible events when they tried to stop a rebellion in Darfur, Sudan. People are worried that the conflict may spread to other countries near Sudan.

The U.N. said on Thursday that around 20,000 Sudanese people have had to run away from the conflict in their home country and seek safety in a neighbouring country – Chad. The defense minister of Chad reported that more than 320 soldiers also had to flee from Darfur towards Chad, where their weapons were taken away. This part of Sudan is controlled by an armed group called the RSF (Rapid Support Forces).

Chad is trying to stay out of the fight for now, but if Sudan’s situation continues to get worse it will be left with no choice but to take sides. This is what Benjamin Hunger from risk assessment firm Verisk Maplecroft said. Two reporters, Magdy from Cairo and Fay Abuelgasim from Beirut, reported all these facts.

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