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UN chief calls for three-day ceasefire in Sudan as thousands flee

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a ceasefire over the Eid al-Fitr holiday in Sudan to allow civilians to reach safety, as rival factions continued to fight. Thousands of individuals have fled the capital Khartoum due to gunshots and explosions, with many also fleeing to Chad to escape the fighting in Darfur. More than 330 people have died since the power struggle between the allied leaders of Sudan’s ruling military junta broke out. The United States has sent additional troops, and Guterres, along with other senior officials, has called for an end to violence. The Arab League, African Union, and other organisations came to a consensus to “condemn the ongoing fighting” and asked for “cessation of hostilities as an immediate priority”. Guterres called for a three-day ceasefire, allowing civilians to escape conflict zones, and requested medical treatment, food, and other supplies. Sudan’s army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said he would support a truce on the condition that citizens could move freely, which the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have thus far prevented. RSF leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo stated he was prepared to implement a three-day truce over Eid. However, each ceasefire Dagalo has supported has quickly collapsed. Witnesses have described clashes between the army and RSF troops and widespread looting across El-Obeid. Many local residents have fled, but thousands of foreigners and other individuals remain trapped. Even prior to the conflict, a quarter of Sudan’s population was facing acute hunger. The conflict risks fanning tensions across the region, and Chad said it disarmed a Sudanese contingent of 320 soldiers while the RSF has returned captured Egyptian troops. The RSF has up to 100,000 troops, while the army controls access to Khartoum.

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