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Sudanese Risk it All to Escape Conflict Zone Amid Shaky Truce

by Joshua Brown
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Lots of families from Sudan have been gathering at a place on the border with Egypt and a port city on the Red Sea. They are trying to run away from all the violence that is happening in their country. These people have been waiting for days without any food or shelter.

The fighting in Khartoum lessened on the second day of a three-day break. The military announced they accepted an offer to continue the pause for another three days once it finishes on Thursday.

Eight countries from East Africa got together to create a plan that would include talks between the military and another group called Rapid Support Forces. They have been fighting each other since April 15th.

The Resistance Forces (RSF) have not said anything yet about this new plan, which could be a big success if both groups agree to it. The two sides, General Abdel Fattah Burhan from the army and General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo from the RSF, both want to come out on top in this situation.

With the fighting calmed down, many people living in Khartoum and Omdurman came out of their houses to buy food and drink. They were stuck indoors for days due to a disagreement between the military and another group of fighters. Some also went over to look at properties that were destroyed or robbed.

Mahasen Ali, a tea seller who lives in May neighborhood in Khartoum shared that if feels calm in his area but people are still worrying about what will happen next. However, some loud noises like gunshots and explosions could be heard although only from certain places such as the military headquarters, Republican Palace located in the centre of Khartoum, and our ones located in Omdurman which is on the other side of Nile River.

With no certain solution in sight, lots of people have decided to leave the capital before the two most powerful generals in Sudan begin fighting each other. Many thousands of people are traveling away from the city so they won’t get hurt in the battle.

Getting food and electricity is becoming harder and harder in big cities. Many charities that help people have had to stop providing support because of this, which is very bad news for almost half the whole country’s population who need assistance from these organizations. The U.N. said that only one out of four hospitals are open completely in the capital city, and all this fighting has hurt many children who were already really hungry before the situation got worse.

Many Sudanese people are worried that a fight between both sides may become worse once everyone is evacuated. The British government has already sent hundreds of people back home on their airplanes, and they are planning four more today. They said they will keep doing this until it’s all done.

Many people have been dedicating a full day travelling across the desert to other places outside of their country like Port Sudan, located at the eastern side of the Red Sea, or Arqin which is near the northern border.

Lots of Sudanese people and foreigners waited in Port Sudan to get on a ferry to Saudi Arabia. A lady named Dallia Abdelmoniem said she and her family came on Monday but they have not been able to reserve a spot yet. She said that foreign nationals were given priority over Sudanese citizens.

She and her extended family, mostly women and children, took a long bus ride that lasted 26 hours. On the way, they went through many military checkpoints and villages. The people there were very kind; they gave all passengers on the buses hibiscus juice and water to make their journey more comfortable.

At the Arqin crossing, lots of people are stuck outdoors in the desert since they can’t get into Egypt. There are many buses lined up waiting at the crossing.

Moaz al-Ser, a Sudanese teacher staying there with his family, said it’s really chaotic with old people, sick people, moms and kids all crammed together waiting to cross over.

Many people living in Khartoum have left the city and moved to nearby areas or refugee camps that were created for others who suffer from past wars. Since April 15th, 512 people (including civilians and soldiers) have died and around 4,200 injured, according to the Sudanese Health Ministry. At least 295 of these deaths were civilian deaths with another 1,790 injuries reported by a Doctors’ Syndicate which follows casualties among civilians.

Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State declared a 72-hour cease-fire. This should last until Thursday night. Sadly, it looks like when evacuating foreign people finishes up, fighting may get even worse.

The UK Army said they’ll continue their rescue mission even if the fighting stopped. A Brigadier called Dan Reeve said it’s calm at the airfield in Khartoum and that Sudanese soldiers are keeping control of the area nearby. Cyprus’ Foreign Minister told us five planes flew to and from Sudan carrying a total of 391 British people back to safety.

In the past week, there have been attempts to stop the conflict but they haven’t worked. The UN Secretary-General has warned that this battle could cause trouble for other countries, lead to severe suffering and set back development for energy many years if it isn’t stopped quickly. Hundreds of foreigners have used air and land transportation to leave Sudan in an attempt to escape the troubling situation.

UN Secretary-General Guterres reported that there have been a lot of fights happening in Blue Nile and North Kordofan states as well as Western Darfur and people are running away from home to different places. According to Joyce Msuya, assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, the UN got reports that sexual abuse and gender-based violence has happened too. Tens of thousands of people have already gone to Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Dr. Mike Ryan, who works for the World Health Organization, said that the dangerous pathogens like polio and cholera stored in a lab seized by fighters aren’t an immediate risk to people outside of the fighters themselves. He shared these thoughts with reporters in Geneva.

In 2019, Burhan and Dagalo climbed to power in Sudan after people got together and forced the generals to remove their leader Omar al-Bashir. Since then, people have been trying to turn Sudan into a democracy. However, this year these two men joined forces to get rid of Sudan’s civilian leaders in a coup. Recently, though, they parted ways over a plan to bring civilians back into power.

The military and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been known to treat activists and protesters harshly, and commit other terrible actions. On Wednesday, the military confirmed that former dictator Omar al-Bashir is being held inside a hospital operated by them since conflict began in the country. Furthermore, there were worries about where he was located after an attack on the prison where he had been kept with several of his former officials.

The military said they moved former leader al-Bashir and other officials to a military-run hospital called Aliyaa. Al-Bashir is in trouble with the International Criminal Court because of bad things he did during the Darfur conflict in the 2000s – like genocide and crimes against humanity.

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