Fighting resumes in Sudan after the 24-hour ceasefire ends

Continued clashes and artillery fire erupted in parts of the Sudanese capital Khartoum early Sunday, shortly after the end of a 24-hour ceasefire that had put a brief lull in eight weeks of fighting between rival military groups.

Witnesses said fighting resumed after the ceasefire expired at 6 a.m. local time (11 p.m. ET Saturday) in north Omdurman, one of three bordering cities alongside Khartoum and Bahri that form the capital at the confluence of the Nile.

Local residents said there was artillery fire in the Sharq el-Nil area on the eastern outskirts of the capital and around a bridge between Omdurman and Bahri. Explosions and clashes were also reported in Khartoum.

War broke out between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on April 15 over tensions over an internationally backed plan for a transition to civilian rule.

The conflict has displaced more than 1.9 million people and triggered a severe humanitarian crisis that threatens to spread to an unstable region.

Fighting has been concentrated in the capital, which has largely become a war zone ravaged by looting and clashes.

Unrest also broke out elsewhere, including in the western region of Darfur, already suffering from a conflict that peaked in the early 2000s.

Residents and activists have reported in recent days that the situation in El Geneina, near the Chadian border, has continued to deteriorate, and that fresh waves of attacks have been launched by nomadic Arab tribes linked to the RSF. The city has been largely cut off from the telephone network for several weeks.

Another city affected is El Obeid, the capital of Nordkordofan state southwest of Khartoum and on a key route to Darfur. Residents say it is effectively under siege due to the conflict, with food and medicine supplies cut off.

The wider Kordofan region is an important agricultural area and a supplier of livestock, oilseeds and gum arabic.

“The situation is difficult. The RSF are spread out on the roads between villages and looting, and gangs are looting everywhere. Moving from place to place became dangerous,” Mohamed Salman, from Nordkordofan, told Reuters by phone.

“We don’t know how we’re going to plant or live in this situation.”

The RSF said it was trying to counter looting but denied responsibility for the violence in Darfur.

About 400,000 people who fled their homes have fled to neighboring countries, about half of them are on their way north to Egypt.

On Saturday, Egypt tightened entry requirements by extending visa requirements for men aged 16 to 50 to all Sudanese citizens.

Even before the rule change, thousands of Sudanese endured long waits near the border while trying to obtain visas.

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