Sudan army says rival paramilitary’s combat capacity halved amid shaky truce (UPDATES TEXT)
Khartoum, May 1 (EFE).- The Sudanese Army Monday claimed to have halved the combat capacity of a rival paramilitary force in the two weeks of a violent power battle, even as the warring factions agreed to extend a tenuous humanitarian ceasefire for 72 hours.
A tense calm prevailed in Khartoum and other regions of the crisis-ridden country on the first day of the extended ceasefire between the regular army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
In a statement, the army said the paramilitary group had mobilized more than 27,000 combatants and 39,000 recruits in the capital until Apr.15, when the fighting broke out, as part of a plot to seize power.
The paramilitary had also brought 2,000 combat vehicles and armored cars to the capital.
In the last 15 days of fighting, the army reduced by 45 to 55 percent of the combat capabilities that the paramilitary had mobilized, said the military.
It accused the paramilitary of trying to fly combat jets from its strongholds in the west to the capital to strengthen its position on the ground.
The statement claimed that the situation in all the regions of Sudan was “stable,” vowing not to back down and “never accept the presence of militias” in the country.
The paramilitary did not react to the army’s claims.
The statement came hours after the United States and Saudi Arabia-mediated truce between the army and the paramilitary went into effect.
But noises of air strikes and artillery shelling could be heard exploding in some regions south of the capital city and a suburb east of the Blue Nile.
There were no specifics regarding the locations attacked or whether there were casualties.
However, an eerie calm prevailed in the Sudanese capital’s center and north, home to the president’s official residence and the airport, which had seen heavy fighting since the sudden outbreak of violence on April 15.
The current truce, the sixth since the conflict began, increased the movement of citizens in Khartoum and the neighboring city of Omdurman.
Only a few stores, markets, and pharmacies were open to the public.
Buyers grumbled about exorbitant costs and a lack of supplies, particularly pharmaceuticals. Vehicles lined in front of numerous petrol stations in the capital and Omdurman.
The World Food Programme (WFP), which had paused its Khartoum operations on April 16 following the deaths of three members of its team in Darfur (west), stated in a statement on Monday that it has resumed operations despite the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.
They declared the first ceasefire on April 24, which was not meant to pause the fighting but did provide a window for thousands of foreigners to leave the country and for Sudanese to flee to safer locations.
On April 15, a deadly vicious power struggle erupted between the Sudanese military and the well-armed robust paramilitary.
It sparked a humanitarian disaster that resulted in the deaths of at least 528 individuals.
According to the UN, the violence has displaced tens of thousands of people, caused a collapse in the healthcare system in the impacted areas, and created a critical shortage of basics.