OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 11:06 AM – Tuesday, April 18, 2023
After being pressured by the United States, along with a number of other nations, the two warring Sudanese generals have agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire.
The conflict between the two military leaders had broken out on Saturday triggering what is being described as a catastrophe, which included the near collapse of the healthcare system in the country.
The fighting erupted as a result of the struggle for power between the country’s top two generals, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan who is the commander of the armed forces, and General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, the head of the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary group.
The unprecedented fighting between the two generals, each backed by tens of thousands of fighters, and a full arsenal of tanks, artillery, fighter jets, and other heavy weapons, has caused millions of civilians to be trapped indoors for days.
According to Jeffrey Feltman, a former U.S. special envoy to the Horn of Africa, the two generals had been in a “marriage of convenience” since the military coup that ousted Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
“In the end, that partnership did not define who would end up being on top,” Feltman said. “So what you have now is a fight to the death for who is going to prevail and should military rule continue in Sudan.”
After the ousting of al-Bashir, the two generals had also jointly orchestrated a military coup in 2021, which derailed the country’s transition to democracy. The new outbreak of violence has threatened to bring Sudan into a complete civil conflict as the country was attempting to bring back its drive for a democratic government.
Since the fighting started four days ago, at least 185 people have been reportedly killed and almost 2,000 injured. However, the numbers are estimated to be much higher due to the bodies that are in streets that had not been reachable because of the fighting. At least six hospitals have also shut down due to the fighting according to Atiya Adballa Atiya, secretary of the Sudan Doctors’ Syndicate.
The Sudan Doctor’s Syndicate, a group which monitors casualties, has put the civilian death toll at 144 so far, and said that 796 people had been injured, with that number being on the rise as well.
Heavy fighting had been taking place in multiple parts of Khartoum and Omdurman where tens of thousands of troops from each side have positioned themselves in almost every neighborhood.
NPR Correspondent Emmanuel Akinwotu reported that the situation is a “nightmare” for civilians because the places they used to frequent, and where they used to get supplies and groceries from, have “been turned into a battlefield right before their eyes.”
Zeinad Mohammed Salih, a journalist in Khartoum who has been sheltering in her home since the fighting broke out, explained how intense the fighting is.
“There’s heavy gunfire all over the city. Military jets are over us all the time. There’s a small market nearby but there’s a shortage in food. And you can’t go out,” she told Up First on Monday.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed on Tuesday that an American diplomatic convoy, which had diplomatic plates and a U.S. flag, was attacked in Sudan. He condemned the attack calling it “irresponsible and, of course, unsafe.”
“I can confirm that yesterday we had an American diplomatic convoy that was fired on,” Blinken said while in Japan. “All of our people are safe and unharmed, but this action was reckless, it was irresponsible and, of course, unsafe. A diplomatic convoy with diplomatic plates, a U.S. flag being fired upon.”
The U.S., European Union, U.N., African and Arab nations have all been calling for an end to the fighting. Blinken said that he had spoken with both generals separately appealing for the ceasefire “to allow the Sudanese to be safely reunited with families.”
Army General Shams El Din Kabbashi, a member of Sudan’s ruling military council appeared on al Arabiya TV and said that the two generals have agreed to a ceasefire which will start at 6:00 p.m. and will not extend beyond the 24 hours that were agreed on.
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