Sudan, intermittent truce and increasing humanitarian crisis as over 800,000 people could flee the country

Elizabeth Smith

Despite the extended ceasefire, Sudan and capital city Khartoum remains a battleground where General al-Burhan’s Sudanese Army and Hemeti’s Rapid Support Forces (Rsf) continue to fight. The major risk is that the protracted conflict turns into a major humanitarian crisis in Sudan and in the neighbouring countries.

Khartoum, continuous clashes despite promises of truce

Residents of Khartoum, Omdurman, and Bahri-Khartoum North have witnessed intense activity by Sudanese fighter jets targeting Rsf bases, which have responded with anti-aircraft guns.

The Air Force also bombed some hospitals, accusing the Rapid Support Forces of turning them into operation centers after evacuating patients, as in the case of the East Nile hospital.

The Rsf claimed to have shot down a Mig fighter, but confirmation is lacking. An army spokesman, on the other hand, said that in 15 days of fighting the strength of Hemeti militiamen had been reduced by half. But again there is a lack of actual corroboration.

The same statement explains that the Rsf, prior to the clash, mobilized 27 thousand fighters, nearly 40 thousand recruits and a hundred armored vehicles. The inertia of the battle in the capital seems to lean in favor of the army. Which, also saw support from the special police force, Central Reserve Forces, which took control of some northern neighborhoods.

Sudan, risk of humanitarian crisis dramatically increasing

Civil war rages in as many as 12 out of 18 regions in battered Sudan. Along with the capital, the hardest hit area is Darfur. The hospital in El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, has been attacked and looted as well as homes, the market, and any place where people gather to seek an escape route.

Human Right Watch reported ethnic and tribal clashes in Darfur between the Massalit and Arab tribes in the area, flanking the Rsf. Ethnic conflict in Darfur is nothing new. But it is now part of a larger picture of civil war that has already claimed a hundred lives in El Geneina. Partly because of the proliferation of weapons throughout the country.

Read also: Sudan, why has civil war broken out and what is the role of Russian mercenary group Wagner in the conflict escalation

Diplomatic negotiations moving forward

In spite of the clashes, diplomatic negotiations are moving forward. Saudi Arabia and the United States are the two main players at this stage.

Both the army and the paramilitaries have agreed to send emissaries right to Riyadh to engage in negotiations and a genuine ceasefire. Egypt is also doing its part. And, has called a new extraordinary meeting of the Arab League to keep the focus on Sudan high.

The World Food Program, after suspending activities over the murder of three aid workers, has returned to the field to support an exhausted population.

The UN said that since the beginning of the conflict, about 100,000 people have fled Sudan and more than 300,000 have been displaced to other parts of the country. The risk is that the Sudanese refugees as a consequences of this conflict may be over 800,000.

Read also: Global migration fluxes, the major and most critical routes in 2023

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