South Sudan says rival generals in Sudan have agreed “in principle” to a seven-day truce. Meanwhile, clashes in Khartoum have undermined an already existing ceasefire. DW has the latest.
The two factions battling for supremacy in Sudan have agreed to a seven-day truce starting May 4, a statement from South Sudan’s foreign ministry in Juba said Tuesday.
The ministry said the deal had been brokered by South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in a phone conversation. It raises hopes of an end to weeks of bloodshed that have killed hundreds and wounded thousands.
Both sides had agreed “to name their representatives to peace talks to be held at any venue of their choice”, the statement said. Kiir was holding talks with Burhan and Daglo as part of a regional initiative.
Witnesses in Khartoum reported air strikes, gunfire, and explosions, despite a second extension of a 72-hour cease-fire.
The power struggle between Sudan’s de facto leader, army chief Abdel Fattah Burhan, and his former deputy Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo (more commonly known as Hemeti) who commands the powerful Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group is well into its third week.
Here are other key headlines about the crisis in Sudan for Tuesday, May 2:
Refugees pour across borders
The United Nations has warned of an influx of refugees fleeing to Sudan’s neighboring countries, as the fighting continues between the country’s top military generals.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said late on Monday that the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) was bracing, alongside governments and partners, “for the possibility that over 800,000 people may flee the fighting in Sudan for neighboring countries.”
“We hope it doesn’t come to that, but if violence doesn’t stop we will see more people forced to flee Sudan seeking safety,” Grandi said on Twitter.
The UNHCR said that 100,000 refugees had crossed from Sudan into neighboring countries.
The fighting has killed over 500, with thousands more injured. The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) said an estimated 334,000 people had been internally displaced since the fighting broke out on April 15.
“About 72 percent, roughly 240,000 of these new internal displacements were reported in West and South Darfur alone,” spokesman Paul Dillon told reporters.
Risk ‘moderate’ after lab seized in fighting — WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that after having conducted a risk assessment, there was “moderate risk” related to the seizure of a public health laboratory in Khartoum by one of the warring factions.
“The situation and the risk are being seen as moderate,” WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told reporters at a briefing in Geneva.
“This is because the lab cannot provide its main function, that is to provide the analysis and the diagnostics because of the lack of fuel and lack of trained staff.”
Last week the WHO warned that Khartoum residents were at risk due to the capture of the facility which contained various pathogens.
The UN body did not stipulate which of the warring sides was occupying the laboratory which is storing cholera bacteria among other hazardous items.
Pakistan completes evacuations from Sudan
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said its evacuation effort in Sudan had been completed with more than 1,000 nationals taken to safety.
“We have successfully and safely evacuated over 1,000 Pakistanis out of Sudan,” the ministry said in a statement.
“With this our evacuation operations out of Sudan have ended,” it said, adding that it included all Pakistanis who had wanted to leave.
The final group of Pakistani nationals had been taken by boat to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, according to AFP news agency, citing a foreign ministry official.
Russia evacuates more than 200 people from Sudan
Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday it was evacuating more than 200 people from Sudan.
“Four Il-76 aircraft … of the Russian Aerospace Forces are bringing more than 200 people from the Republic of Sudan to the Russian Federation,” the ministry said on the Telegram messaging app.
The evacuees were citizens of Russia and neighboring countries, it added.
Nearly 500 evacuated to Saudi Arabia by sea
Saudi Arabia announced late on Monday it was evacuating a further 212 individuals from Sudan via the Red Sea, including US and British citizens.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry said the latest evacuation mission included 41 Saudi nationals and 171 foreign nationals.
The latter included citizens of Afghanistan, the Philippines, the Comoros Islands, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Madagascar, Syria, the UK and the US.
Monday’s ship brings the total of those Saudi Arabia has evacuated since the conflict erupted to 5,409, the ministry said. They include 225 Saudi nationals.
Earlier on Monday, a US-operated rescue ship carrying 300 civilians fleeing Sudan arrived in Saudi Arabia. The French AFP news agency cited officials as saying the ship carried 105 US citizens, 100 Sudanese, and citizens of 15 other countries.
Analyst sees little hope for Sudan peace process
The chances of Sudan’s warring generals ceasing the fighting and engaging in a meaningful peace process are low, said Jon Temin, vice president of policy and programs at the Truman National Security Project in Washington DC.
Temin, who previously served as the Director of the Africa Program at Freedom House, told DW on Monday that both Burhan and Daglo were likely to fight until one party wins.
“Both of these generals and the forces they command, they are accustomed to fighting. They are accustomed to getting what they want through fighting. And it’s awfully hard to see now how they coexist. It was hard to see how they coexist even before this fighting kicked off.”
Temin also cast doubt on the possibility of reaching an agreement that would satisfy both parties, but he said the hope lay in “negotiations with strong leadership from the region,” alongside the US and other world powers involved.
He also dismissed the possibility of a foreign military intervention, saying he could only imagine it happening in “the rarest of circumstances.”
zc, rmt/wd (AFP, AP, Reuters)