Will this extension be followed by effects? A few hours before the expiration Thursday at midnight (11 p.m. in mainland France) of a three-day ceasefire which has hardly been respected, the army and the Rapid Support Forces (FSR) announced having approved the extension of the truce for 72 hours "following an initiative of Saudi Arabia and the United States".
In a joint statement issued in Washington, the members of the "Quad" on Sudan (Saudi Arabia, Emirates, United Kingdom and United States), as well as the African Union and the United Nations, considered this extension "welcome". and called for "its full implementation" and "unhindered humanitarian access".
This ceasefire, which began on Tuesday, allowed the evacuation of thousands of foreigners and Sudanese but did not prevent Khartoum from being continuously shelled.
Since April 15, the fighting between the army of General Abdel Fattah Al-Bourhane and the very dreaded paramilitary FSR of General Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, known as "Hemetti", has left more than 500 dead and thousands injured, according to the Sudanese Ministry of Health, but the toll is likely much higher. The violence caused the death of at least eight people on Wednesday alone, according to the doctors' union.
Doubling the hopes of a democratic transition, the two generals had together ousted civilians from power during a putsch in 2021, before going to war, for lack of agreement on the integration of paramilitaries into the army.
"We're too scared to go out"
On Thursday, the fighting was particularly violent in the capital, Khartoum. "I hear intense shelling outside my home," a Khartoum resident told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Thursday evening.
Beyond the capital, violence has torn since the start of the conflict in other regions, notably West Darfur. Looting, murders and burning of houses took place in El-Geneina, capital of this border region of Chad and theater in the 2000s of a particularly bloody war. Some 50,000 children "suffering from acute malnutrition" are deprived of food aid there, alert the United Nations, which had to interrupt their activities after the death of five humanitarian workers.
"Hospitals, public buildings and health centers have been severely damaged and there is looting on every street corner," a resident of El-Geneina told AFP. "We're stuck at home, we're too scared to go out so we don't know the exact extent of the destruction," he said. Little information filters but pro-democracy doctors have already announced the death of one of their colleagues in this violence.
The UN has been reporting for several days "attacks on civilians, looting and burning of houses", while "weapons are distributed" to civilians. "Violence, the disruption of the functioning of many hospitals and clinics, limited access to drinking water, food shortages and the forced displacement of populations" constitute "the greatest risks for health in Sudan", warns, for its part, the World Health Organization (WHO).
The fighting has caused a mass exodus in this country of forty-five million people, one of the poorest in the world. Several tens of thousands of people have already arrived in border countries, notably in Egypt in the north and in Ethiopia in the east, according to the UN. And some 270,000 people could flee to Chad and South Sudan.
African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat called on neighboring countries and the international community to help those fleeing the fighting, urging the warring parties to "immediately agree a permanent ceasefire to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Sudanese in need".
In recent days, several countries have organized evacuations. More than 200 Iraqis landed in Baghdad on Thursday, evacuated on two planes sent by the Iraqi government. On Wednesday, the French navy again evacuated nearly 400 people of different nationalities, while China dispatched ships to come to the aid of its nationals and has already rescued 1,300 of its nationals and citizens of five other countries, announced the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday.
A new Saudi ship arrived in the western port city of Jeddah in the evening, bringing the number of people evacuated from Riyadh to 2,744. Canada announced that it had evacuated 118 Canadian nationals and other countries.
Shortage of water and food
Those left in Sudan in the combat zones have to contend with shortages of food, water and electricity as well as cuts in the internet and telephone lines.
Acting UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan Abu Dieng said he was "extremely worried about the food supply", calling for "collective action".
So far, fourteen hospitals have been bombed, according to the doctors' union, and nineteen others have been forcibly abandoned because of gunfire, lack of equipment and personnel or because fighters had taken up residence there. In the general chaos, hundreds of detainees escaped from three prisons, in particular the high security establishment of Kober, which hosted the inner circle of the former dictator Omar Al-Bashir, prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC ) for "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" in Darfur.