Blinken warns rival Sudanese generals to respect the ceasefire or face possible sanctions

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned Sudan’s rival generals to abide by the latest ceasefire or face possible sanctions.
  • Sudan descended into chaos after fighting broke out in mid-April between the country’s army and paramilitary rapid support forces.
  • A seventh attempt at a new truce was announced over the weekend.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday warned Sudan’s rival generals to abide by the latest ceasefire or face possible sanctions, as residents reported sporadic fighting between the sides in the capital Khartoum and a northern city.

Sudan descended into chaos after fighting broke out in mid-April between the country’s army, led by General Abdel Fattah Burhan, and paramilitary rapid support forces, commanded by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

The fighting has killed at least 863 civilians, including at least 190 children, and injured more than 3,530, according to the Doctors’ Syndicate, which tracks civilian casualties. The toll could be much higher, the medical group said. The conflict has also turned Khartoum and other urban areas into battlefields. At first, foreign governments scrambled to evacuate their diplomats and citizens as thousands of foreign residents scrambled to leave Sudan.

More than a million Sudanese have been forced from their homes by the fighting, including more than 840,000 who have sought refuge in safer parts of the country, and another 250,000 who have crossed into neighboring countries, according to UN figures.

In recent weeks, the United States and Saudi Arabia have mediated talks between the warring parties held in the kingdom. A new truce was announced over the weekend, the seventh attempt so far to halt the deadly violence in the East African nation. It went into effect on Monday evening. All previous ceasefires have been violated.


In a video message posted by the US embassy on social media early Tuesday, Blinken said the fighting was “tragic, senseless and devastating”.

The truce, he said, is intended to allow for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and to restore essential services and infrastructure destroyed in the clashes.

A remote mechanism, backed by the United States, has been set up to monitor the truce, Blinken added: a 12-member monitoring committee made up of three representatives from the warring parties, three from the United States and three from Saudi Arabia.

“If the ceasefire is violated, we will know about it and hold the violators accountable through sanctions and other means,” he said. “We have facilitated the ceasefire, but it is the responsibility of the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces to implement it.”

Both sides agreed to halt hostilities and the looting of civilian property and humanitarian supplies, as well as seize civilian infrastructure such as hospitals, power plants, water pumps and fuel stations.

Fleeing Sudan

Nigerians evacuated from Sudan arrive at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, Nigeria May 5, 2023.

Aid workers and civilians reported widespread looting in Khartoum and elsewhere across the country, along with a dire lack of basic services, medical care, food and water. The Syndicate of Doctors also said that the RSF seized hospitals. There have also been reports of allegations of sexual violence against women, including rape and gang rape in Khartoum and the restive West Darfur region.

Médecins Sans Frontières said in a statement on Tuesday that its staff have been harassed and its medical premises and other facilities have been repeatedly looted and occupied since the fighting began. The charity, known by its French acronym MSF, runs medical projects in 10 of Sudan’s 18 provinces, including the capital.

“We are shocked and appalled by these deplorable attacks,” said Jean-Nicolas Armstrong Dangelser, MSF emergency coordinator in Sudan. “We are experiencing a violation of humanitarian principles and the space for humanitarian work is shrinking on a scale I have rarely seen before.”

Residents, meanwhile, said they heard gunfire and explosions on Tuesday in parts of Omdurman, a city near Khartoum, with military planes flying overhead. They also reported sporadic clashes around army headquarters in Khartoum.

“The sounds of the firefight are very close,” said Babakr Abdel-Rahman, an Omdurman resident, speaking on the phone, with loud sounds of gunfire and planes in the background. “They don’t respect people’s lives.”


Fighting has also been reported in the northern city of Obeid, where RSF are said to have attacked the military headquarters and other parts of the city.

Radhouane Nouicer, the UN expert on human rights in Sudan, has criticized the warring parties for taking the country “hostage” and described the suffering of civilians as “dehumanizing”.

“This is the destruction of a country in a way that is dehumanizing to its people,” he said in a statement on Tuesday. “People feel lonely and abandoned amid chronic shortages of food, clean water, destroyed homes, indiscriminate attacks on population centers and widespread looting; the whole country is taken hostage”.

The weeks-long conflict has exacerbated the already dire humanitarian disaster in Sudan, prompting the United Nations to update its humanitarian response for 2023.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said last week that the number of people in need of assistance this year rose by 57%, to 24.7 million people, or more than half of the population. of the country. This requires $2.6 billion, a 47 percent increase over prewar estimates, he said.


The United States has said it will provide $245 million in additional support to Sudan and neighboring countries affected by the conflict. This brings the total US humanitarian assistance commitment for Sudan and neighboring Chad, Egypt, South Sudan and the Central African Republic to nearly $880 million in 2023, according to the State Department.


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