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New Sudan Ceasefire Announced but Doubts Remain

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says warring parties in Sudan have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire from midnight (22:00 GMT).

It is at least the third ceasefire to be announced since violence erupted this month – but none have held.

Mr Blinken said the agreement with the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) came after 48 hours of negotiations.

At least 400 people are known to have died since the fighting broke out.

“We affirm our commitment to a complete ceasefire during the truce period”, the RSF said in a statement, backing up Mr Blinken’s announcement.

The army is yet to comment publicly.

Since the violence erupted a little over a week ago, residents in the capital Khartoum have been told to stay inside, and food and water supplies have been running low.

The bombing has hit key infrastructure, like water pipes, meaning that some people have been forced to drink from the River Nile.

There will be hopes the ceasefire will allow civilians to leave the city. Foreign governments will also hope it will allow for evacuations out of the country.

Countries have scrambled to evacuate their diplomats and civilians as fighting raged in central, densely-populated parts of the capital.

Sudan is suffering an “internet blackout” with connectivity at 2% of ordinary levels, monitoring group NetBlocks said on Monday. In Khartoum, the internet has been down since Sunday night.

Violence broke out on 15 April, primarily in the capital city Khartoum, between rival military factions battling for control of Africa’s third largest country.

It came following days of tension as members of the RSF were redeployed around the country in a move that the army saw as a threat.

Since a 2021 coup, Sudan has been run by a council of generals, led by the two military men at the centre of this dispute – Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the armed forces and in effect the country’s president, and his deputy and leader of the RSF, Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti.

They have disagreed on the direction the country is going in and the proposed move towards civilian rule.

The main sticking points are plans to include the 100,000-strong RSF into the army, and who would then lead the new force.

Gen Dagalo has accused Gen Burhan’s government of being “radical Islamists” and that he and the RSF were “fighting for the people of Sudan to ensure the democratic progress for which they have so long yearned”.

Many find this message hard to believe, given the brutal track record of the RSF.

Gen Burhan has said he supports the idea of returning to civilian rule, but that he will only hand over power to an elected government.