After fresh intense fighting and airstrikes in the capital cast doubt on the efficacy of a ceasefire meant to ameliorate a humanitarian crisis, Sudan’s warring military factions agreed on Monday to a five-day extension of the accord.
Shortly before it was set to expire on Monday evening, Saudi Arabia and the United States, who mediated a week-long ceasefire agreement and have been remotely monitoring it, declared the parties had decided to extend it.
The two nations had announced in a joint statement that though the ceasefire was not followed as it should have been, it had allowed approximately two million people to receive aid. The statement further said, “The extension will provide time for further humanitarian assistance, restoration of essential services, and discussion of a potential longer-term extension.”
The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said that it had been able to make its first food distributions since the beginning of the conflict on Saturday.
The peace agreement had provided some relief from the intense fighting in previous days, but intermittent confrontations and airstrikes continued.
Both sides had broken the cease-fire in different ways, according to Saudi Arabia and the US, and they had also prevented access for aid organizations and the restoration of vital services.
Residents in Khartoum, Omdurman, and Bahri, the three neighbouring cities that make up Sudan’s larger capital near the confluence of the Nile, reported fighting hours before it was signed. They claimed that the fighting was more intense than it had been in the previous three days.
On Monday afternoon, residents of Omdurman reported hearing air strikes, which the army has been deploying to target RSF forces embedded in neighbourhoods throughout the capital.
Power struggles between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) exploded into violence on April 15, killing hundreds and uprooting roughly 1.4 million people.