Sudan ceasefire brings temporary relief
Sudan has experienced a brief pause from the heavy battles that have plagued the country for the past five weeks, following the announcement of a ceasefire agreement.
Residents have noted a relative calm despite night-time airstrikes reported in one area after the ceasefire started on Monday.
The truce was reached during talks in Jeddah on Saturday, overseen by Saudi Arabia and the US. They issued a joint statement on Tuesday, stating that preparations were underway for urgent humanitarian relief operations.
Sudanese activists have written to the UN envoy to Sudan, welcoming the ceasefire, while also urging an investigation into severe human rights abuses against civilians that occurred during the conflict.
Volunteer groups in the capital are preparing to receive supplies, although a significant portion of aid that has arrived in Port Sudan is yet to be distributed as agencies await security clearance.
Medical humanitarian organisation MSF reported instances of violence in various parts of the country, including several cities in the western region of Darfur.
Previous ceasefires were marred by continued fighting, but this agreement is the first to be formally agreed upon through negotiations and includes a monitoring mechanism.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that the monitoring process would be conducted remotely. He provided no further details.
While the ceasefire deal has raised hopes for a temporary halt to the conflict, which has resulted in the displacement of nearly 1.1 million people, challenges remain.
Sudanese refugees are pouring into Chad so rapidly that relocating them to safer areas before the rainy season in late June is an enormous challenge.
The situation is placing pressure on Sudan’s neighbouring countries, with an estimated 60,000 to 90,000 individuals seeking refuge in Chad alone.
The US has pledged to employ additional measures if necessary in the event of ceasefire violations.
Meanwhile, Sudanese activists have expressed ongoing concerns about indiscriminate attacks on residential areas, the use of civilians as human shields, extrajudicial killings, torture and sexual violence throughout the conflict.
The crisis has severely hampered humanitarian efforts, with violence, looting, and administrative hurdles delaying the scale-up of relief operations.
Pictured above: Respite in Sudan