AFRIQUE/MONDE

Sudan: Renewed Shelling and Gunfire Erupt in the Capital Khartoum

Written by Dr. Florence Akano

Witnesses reported the resumption of shelling and gunfire in the Sudanese capital on Sunday, marking the conclusion of a brief 24-hour ceasefire that had offered a rare reprieve to civilians amid nearly two months of devastating conflict.

Renewed Shelling and Gunfire Erupt in Sudanese Capital as Fragile Ceasefire Ends

Witnesses reported the resumption of shelling and gunfire in the Sudanese capital on Sunday, marking the conclusion of a brief 24-hour ceasefire that had offered a rare reprieve to civilians amid nearly two months of devastating conflict.

Since mid-April, the northeast African country has been engulfed in deadly fighting that erupted when army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), turned against each other.

The most recent ceasefire agreement, one in a series of attempts, had granted trapped civilians in the capital city of Khartoum a precious opportunity to venture outside and secure essential supplies, including food.

However, witnesses informed AFP that merely 10 minutes after the ceasefire officially ended at 6:00 am (0400 GMT) on Sunday, shelling and clashes rocked the capital once again. Heavy artillery fire reverberated through Khartoum and its twin city, Omdurman, located to the north. In addition, violence erupted on Al-Hawa Street, a vital thoroughfare in the southern part of the capital.

Nasreddin Ahmed, a resident of south Khartoum who was awakened by the renewed fighting, described the one-day lull as a fleeting dream that vanished. Asmaa al-Rih, a resident of the capital’s northern suburbs, lamented the harrowing return of terror, as rockets and shells once again shook the very foundations of homes.

Adding to the escalating chaos, billowing clouds of smoke were observed for the fifth consecutive day from the Al-Shajara oil and gas facility near the Yarmouk military plant in Khartoum.

Multiple truces have been forged and broken throughout the conflict, with even the imposition of United States sanctions on both rival generals failing to sustain a previous attempt that collapsed in late May.

It is worth noting that both Burhan and Daglo amassed substantial wealth during the reign of Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir, whose government faced decades of international sanctions before being overthrown in 2019.

Egypt Implements Stricter Visa Rules as Ceasefire Efforts Remain Fragile

The recently concluded 24-hour ceasefire, which ended on Sunday morning, was announced by the US and Saudi mediators who issued a warning that if it failed, they might suspend their mediation efforts. The warring factions had agreed to facilitate the unobstructed movement and delivery of humanitarian aid across the entire country, according to a statement from the Saudi foreign ministry on Saturday.

People board a bus to leave Khartoum as fighting between the Sudanese Army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces intensified. Photo: Africanews.com

In the event that the parties involved failed to uphold the ceasefire, the facilitators stated their intention to consider adjourning talks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which have already been suspended since the end of last month. The mediators acknowledged the frustration felt by the Sudanese people regarding the inconsistent implementation of previous ceasefire agreements.

The conflict has deeply entrenched itself in both Khartoum and the western region of Darfur, resulting in the loss of over 1,800 lives, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. Additionally, the United Nations reports that nearly two million individuals have been displaced, with 476,000 seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. Over 200,000 of these displaced individuals have made their way into Egypt, primarily through land routes.

However, on Saturday, Cairo announced stricter visa requirements for Sudanese individuals who were previously exempted from visas. This exemption included women of all ages, children under 16, and individuals over 50. The Egyptian government clarified that these new regulations were not intended to prevent or limit the entry of Sudanese people, but rather to curtail illegal activities conducted by individuals and groups on the Sudanese side of the border who engaged in the forgery of entry visas for personal gain.

The implementation of stricter visa rules adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing crisis, as it affects the movement of people seeking safety and refuge. As the mediators strive to salvage the tenuous ceasefire, the situation remains highly volatile, with the need for sustained diplomatic efforts and a comprehensive resolution becoming increasingly urgent.

About the author

Dr. Florence Akano

Leave a Comment