Sporadic shelling in Khartoum on 3rd, final day of truce
Khartoum, May 3 (EFE).- Bombardments and anti-aircraft artillery was heard Wednesday in Khartoum on the third and last day of a truce between the army and paramilitaries, while a permanent ceasefire was under negotiation to facilitate humanitarian aid to the areas most affected by the conflict.
Witnesses in Khartoum told EFE that army fighters in the south and north of the Sudanese capital bombed the powerful Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group, who responded with anti-aircraft artillery.
The bombardments were heard above all in the vicinity of the Republican Palace and the international airport, over whose control the factions have been fighting since the outbreak of the fighting on Apr. 15.
Sporadic explosions are also heard in the south of Khartoum and Um Dorman, a neighboring city of the capital, where there are camps and concentrations of paramilitaries.
These clashes coincide with the third and last day of the third consecutive 72-hour truce, mediated by the United States and Saudi Arabia, which came into force at 22:00 GMT on Sunday, and while another seven-day truce is expected to begin Thursday with the mediation of South Sudan.
These truces have not been respected by the parties, who continually accuse each other of violating them, although they allowed the evacuation operations of diplomatic personnel and foreign citizens. It has also helped the flight of tens of thousands of Sudanese people to safer areas or neighboring countries.
According to witnesses, in recent days there has also been a growing movement of civilians on the streets of the main cities, including the capital, where some markets and pharmacies have reopened their doors amid complaints about the lack of products and the high cost of basic medicines and food.
The exact number of military and civilian casualties in the fighting is unknown, although the Sudanese health ministry says at least 550 civilians have been killed and 4,926 wounded since the conflict broke out.
Meanwhile, warnings from international and local organizations about the “tragic” humanitarian situation in the country continue, as well as alerts of an imminent collapse of the health system, where the vast majority of hospitals and clinics are already out of service.
Neighboring mediating country South Sudan, said Tuesday that Gen. Abdelfatah Al Burham, head of the army, and paramilitary leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo have agreed to a seven-day truce. It is due to begin Thursday when the current 72-hour period ends, to facilitate the arrival of aid and try to achieve a permanent cessation of hostilities. EFE