Northeast Africa: One-week ceasefire to defuse crisis in Sudan

Northeast Africa: One-week ceasefire to defuse crisis in Sudan

In Sudan there is timid hope that the violence will end. However, previously agreed ceasefires have been broken again and again – and the plight of the civilians is increasing every day.

A newly agreed ceasefire gives the people of Sudan hope for a temporary end to the violence in their country. The seven-day ceasefire agreed to by both parties to the conflict is scheduled to come into force today.

This was preceded by efforts by the government of neighboring South Sudan to mediate between the Sudanese armed forces and rival paramilitaries. However, it is questionable whether the ceasefire will hold this time: Since the fighting began a good three weeks ago, ceasefires of up to 72 hours have been repeatedly negotiated, but repeatedly broken.

Dispute between two generals

In the country on the Horn of Africa, 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 had once taken over the leadership in Sudan 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 the country with its around 46 million inhabitants into a crisis.

Reports of looting and raids continued yesterday to raise doubts as to whether the newly negotiated ceasefire would actually last. According to the United Nations, six trucks carrying relief supplies were looted en route to the northern Darfur region. UN emergency aid coordinator Martin Griffiths could not say who was behind it. “Some military elements are very disciplined, others less so,” he said in the eastern port city of Port Sudan. The UN wants to try to bring humanitarian aid to Darfur via neighboring Chad. However, Griffiths stressed that the relief effort continued even without a formal ceasefire.

There should be negotiations

The UN envoy acknowledged that, as in all crises, mistakes were made in the first chaotic days of the conflict. “We all know we can and should do more,” Griffiths said. However, reliable security guarantees are necessary for this, from the top of the fighting associations to the individual regions.

The first negotiations between the conflicting parties are to follow the ceasefire. Al-Burhan and Daglo have pledged to nominate representatives for talks to be held in the South Sudanese capital Juba. However, a date for the start of negotiations has not yet been set.

The people of Sudan long for an end to the violence. The humanitarian need in the country is already enormous. The UN is preparing for the fact that significantly more than the already 100,000 displaced persons will seek refuge abroad. Even before the outbreak of the most recent conflict, the UN had estimated the humanitarian needs in Sudan at 1.7 billion dollars (1.55 billion euros) and asked for corresponding donations. Of these, only 14 percent were received. The International Red Cross described the situation of the refugees as “catastrophic”.

Source: Stern

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