Smoke rises in Khartoum's sister city, Omdurman, near Halfaya Bridge, during clashes between the RSF and Sudan's army (Photo Reuters)
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AU, Igad Deeply Concerned by Violence in Sudan, Urge for Ceasefire

The African Union and Igad, the East African regional bloc, say they are deeply concerned by the escalating violence in Sudan and urge for an immediate ceasefire.

Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are fighting in Khartoum as tensions escalate over a proposed transition to civilian rule.

There was gunfire in the northern city of Merow, the Reuters news agency quoted witnesses as saying.

AUC and IGAD leaders issued statements calling for an immediate ceasefire.

“The situation going dangerously out of control and parties resorting to armed violence as a means of resolving political differences,” the AUC Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat said in his statement.

Mahamat has appealed the parties to “immediately stop the destruction of the country, the panic of the populations and the bloodbaths of the innocents in the last ten days of the holy month of Ramadan.”

IGAD’s Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu issued a statement calling for “both sides to immediately cease fighting, de-escalate the situation, and resolve their differences through dialogue.”

As per IGAD, the Sudanese parties including SAF and RSF recently made “commendable progress” towards signing a final political agreement and formation of a civilian-led transitional rule.

“These reports of fighting will not only cause setbacks but will also cause serious insecurity and instability to Sudan and the region at large,” Workneh said.

At least three civilians have been killed in today’s clashes in Khartoum, a doctors’ trade union says.

It’s not yet clear what triggers the fighting.

According to the BBC report, the army says the conflict began when the paramilitary fighters attacked its Command, although the RSF says it was attacked first.

Generals have been running the country, through what is called the Sovereign Council, since a coup in October 2021.

The RSF is under the command of the council’s vice-president Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, while the army is led by its head Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

But a proposed move to a civilian-led rule has foundered on the timetable to integrate the RSF into the national army – the RSF wanted to delay it, but the army said it should happen in two years.

AUC chairperson Mahamat urges “political and military parties to find a fair political solution to the crisis that arose after the 25 October 2021 coup and its disastrous consequences”.

He has also called on the international community “to combine, in unity and urgency, their efforts to bring the parties to” ceasefire and return to the negotiating table.

Sudan has been in political turmoil since the military toppled a civilian government in October 2021, ending two-year long power-sharing rule that came after Sudan’s long-term President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown.

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