Heavy fighting continues in Khartoum and Darfur, despite an agreement on a new truce in Sudan between the army and paramilitaries engaged in a war for power that has killed more than 500 people in nearly two weeks.
In El-Geneina, capital of West Darfur, 74 people were killed during the first two days of fighting on Monday and Tuesday, the doctors' union reported in a provisional report, the deaths of the last days not having been able to be counted insofar as all the hospitals are "out of service".
Throughout the country, "the health system is on the verge of total collapse" and "12,000 patients suffering from kidney failure could die for lack of dialysis", warns the union.
During the night from Thursday to Friday, the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo agreed to extend for 72 hours the truce, concluded under the aegis of the United States. United, but which has almost never been respected.
"Violations of the ceasefire do not mean its failure," State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters on Friday.
In Khartoum, air strikes and anti-aircraft fire rang out near the army headquarters, according to witnesses told AFP.
In Darfur, "the situation is still very tense," a resident of El-Geneina told AFP. "The markets have been looted and there is no more food."
Several buildings and camps for the displaced have been "seriously damaged" and the electricity has been "cut since Monday", he adds.
Lawyers and doctors are sounding the alarm for this border region of Chad. In El-Geneina, fighters took out "submachine guns, heavy machine guns and anti-aircraft fire machines" and "fired rockets at houses", reports the Darfur Bar Association.
"Burhane and Hemedti must immediately stop this stupid war which is being waged on the backs of civilians," he urged.
The UN indicates that "weapons are distributed" to civilians. His Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights warned that the conflict was rekindling ethnic clashes in West Darfur, saying it was "concerned" by the "climate of generalized impunity".
Some 50,000 children "suffering from acute malnutrition" are deprived of food aid there, warns the UN, which has suspended its activities after the death of five humanitarian workers.
Few information filter from this region where a war started in 2003 between the regime of Omar el-Bashir, deposed in 2019, and insurgents from ethnic minorities left around 300,000 dead and nearly 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN.
The belligerents continue to accuse each other of violating the truce. The army even denounced the shooting of the FSR on a Turkish military plane which came to evacuate nationals. Ankara confirmed, stating that there were no injuries, according to the state agency Anadolu.
General Burhane denounced on al-Hurra television the entry into the fighting of "mercenaries from Chad, the Central African Republic and Niger".
"This war is destroying Sudan," General Daglo said in an interview with the BBC, calling his rival a "traitor".
On the diplomatic front, the two generals said they had exchanges with the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia or South Sudan. Juba is worried about the "already visible overflows" of the conflict, in particular with the influx of "refugees" in neighboring countries.
Several tens of thousands of people have already crossed the borders, notably from Chad to the west and from Egypt to the north. A total of 270,000 people could flee to Chad and South Sudan, according to the UN.
A representative of General Burhane is expected in Cairo on Saturday to meet the head of Egyptian diplomacy, Sameh Choukry.
Damping hopes of a democratic transition, the two generals together ousted civilians from power during a putsch in 2021. Since then, they have not managed to agree on the integration of paramilitaries into the army before finally going to war on April 15.
In Khartoum, the five million inhabitants are deprived of running water and electricity as well as, often, of internet and telephone. Gasoline and cash are also running out.
Several Western countries, including the United States, France, Canada and the United Kingdom, continued to evacuate hundreds of people. China has announced that it has evacuated most of its nationals.
Chad is also continuing to repatriate its nationals trapped in the fighting: 130 of them, including children and the elderly, landed overnight in Ndjamena from Port Sudan.
A new Saudi ship arrived Friday in Jeddah (west), bringing to 2,991 the number of people evacuated by Riyadh, which received most of the foreigners who left Sudan by sea.
29/04/2023 03:49:50 - Khartoum (AFP) - © 2023 AFP