Damaged shops during the ongoing fighting between the Sudanese army and paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Khartoum, Sudan, 19 April 2023. EFE/EPA/STRINGER

Tense calm in Khartoum as 72 hour US-brokered truce starts

Khartoum, Apr 25 (EFE).- Khartoum woke to a tense calm Tuesday after a 72-hour ceasefire brokered by the United States came into effect at midnight.

The Sudanese capital has been engulfed by heavy fighting after clashes between two powerful military factions erupted on Apr.15.

Both the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) announced in separate statements that they would comply with the ceasefire which started at 10:00 PM GMT on Monday.

Twenty-eight South Korean nationals from war-ravaged Sudan alight from a KC-330 tanker transport plane at Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, South Korea, 25 April 2023, completing a perilous dayslong operation for their evacuation amid intensifying fighting between rival forces in the African nation. EFE/EPA/YONHAP SOUTH KOREA OUT

“We renew our absolute commitment to the declared humanitarian truce for a period of 72 hours,” the RSF said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese Army said it was respecting the pause in fighting for humanitarian reasons and providing the RSF put an end to all hostilities.

The truce comes after days of intense negotiations brokered by the US.

“During this period, the United States urges the SAF and RSF to immediately and fully uphold the ceasefire. To support a durable end to the fighting, the United States will coordinate with regional and international partners, and Sudanese civilian stakeholders,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Sudanese women walk on a street in Khartoum, Sudan, 19 April 2023. EFE/EPA/STRINGER

The ceasefire aims to establish humanitarian corridors that will enable citizens and residents to access essential services, healthcare and safe zones as well as the evacuation of diplomatic missions, the paramilitary force added.

The RSF has accused the army of ignoring the conditions of the truce and of flying jets over the capital early on Tuesday.

No shelling or gunfire has been reported.

The sixth ceasefire since fighting began 10 days ago comes amid an exodus of thousands of Sudanese citizens trying to reach safe zones in Sudan and other neighboring countries.

A handout photo released by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows Thai citizens with their belongings lining up to be transported by boat during an evacuation from the ongoing armed conflict, at a port in Sudan, early 25 April 2023. EFE/EPA/MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Egypt, Sudan’s northern neighbor, has set up an emergency and relief operation on its border crossings into Sudan to facilitate the arrival of thousands of Egyptians and Sudanese citizens.

Cairo authorities are allowing the arrival of Sudanese citizens carrying a passport, and have suspended visa requirements. Minors traveling with their parents can enter Egypt without any ID documents, according to official sources quoted by local media.

Dozens of countries have evacuated their citizens and withdrawn their diplomatic staff from the African country in recent days, including South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, France and the US.

The United Kingdom announced it was coordinating the evacuation of British nationals on Tuesday.

“We have started contacting nationals directly and providing routes for departure out of the country,” foreign secretary James Cleverly tweeted.

The UK government, which estimates around 4,000 British nationals are in Sudan, was criticized by British civilians in the warring country for not doing enough to help them after the UK army evacuated diplomatic staff on Saturday. EFE