Sudan’s warring sides commit to protect civilians

The Sudan National Army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the two opposing sides in the conflict in Sudan, have agreed to protect civilians and facilitate the flow of humanitarian aid. After week of negotiations in Jaddah, Saudi Arabia, the two parties came to an illusive cease-fire and signed temporary cease-fire to allow for further negotiations.

“The two sides are quite far apart,” a senior US State Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity told Reuters news agency. “Negotiators working with Saudi and US mediators set a goal of reaching a ceasefire deal in up to 10 days,” the official added.

On Thursday, fighting was reported in Omdurman and Halfaya, two neighborhoods on the outskirts of the capital where witnesses said they could hear jets flying over the area.

However, neither side has publicly indicated that they are willing to defuse the situation and put an end to the conflict, which has been going on since last month and poses threat of inciting civil war.

Previous ceasefires have been broken, trapping civilians in the crossfires and forcing them to navigate horrific terrain of firefights and aerial bombardments while running low on food, water, and medical supplies and experiencing power outages.

According to senior US Department official, the recent declaration by the conflicting parties to extend the ceasefire seeks to increase the flow of humanitarian aid and allow for the restoration of water and electrical supplies.

According to the official, the mediators also seek to persuade both sides to withdraw fighters from hospitals and allow for the burial of those slain in the battle.

The United Nations estimates that over 600 people have been killed and more than 5,000 injured in the fighting. Many have fled Khartoum and Darfur, leading to 700,000 people being internally displaced and 150,000 refugees entering neighboring countries.

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