The leaders of the Sudanese army and rival paramilitaries have agreed to a seven-day ceasefire from May 4-11. This was announced yesterday by the Foreign Ministry of the neighboring country of South Sudan. The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, has been mediating between the two parties to the conflict for a few days as a representative of the Northeast African regional association IGAD.
In Sudan, de facto President Abdel Fattah al-Burhan is using the armed forces to wage a power struggle against his deputy, Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, who heads the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The two generals once took over the leadership of the country with around 46 million inhabitants through joint military coups. However, questions about the distribution of power led to a rift between the two camps, which culminated in open fighting on April 15 and plunged Sudan into a crisis.
Humanitarian situation is deteriorating rapidly
Al-Burhan and Daglo have now agreed to nominate representatives for negotiations to take place in the South Sudanese capital Juba. A date has yet to be set for the start of negotiations, the Foreign Ministry in South Sudan said. The rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation makes a de-escalation of the conflict imperative, it said. Even before the most recent violence, Sudan was heavily dependent on international humanitarian aid.
Since the beginning of the bloody conflict, ceasefires of up to 72 hours have been negotiated, but have repeatedly been broken. A real ceasefire was not actually observed by either side. The Ministry of Health put the number of victims from the fighting at the end of last week at around 530 dead and a good 4,600 injured. Because of the confusing situation in Sudan, however, experts assume that the actual numbers are likely to be significantly higher.
Already before that 3.7 million displaced persons
According to the UN Organization for Migration (IOM), at least 334,000 people have become internally displaced in Sudan since the fighting began. Even before the current conflict, there were 3.7 million displaced people in Sudan as a result of previous fighting.
The number of refugees seeking refuge in neighboring countries has passed 100,000, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Many would arrive in Chad, South Sudan and Egypt. Among them are the Sudanese, but also refugees from other countries who have found refuge in Sudan. The UNHCR's plans are based on the fact that more than 800,000 people could flee if the fighting continues. "We hope it doesn't come to that," UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi wrote on Twitter on Monday.