Sudan: Eid truce hopes shattered as generals refuse to negotiate

Sudan: Eid truce hopes shattered as generals refuse to negotiate
Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF head Mohamed Hamdan 'Hemedti' Dagalo have refused to come to the table as fighting rages in Sudan.
9 min read
20 April, 2023

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Hopes of a ceasefire between Sudan's military and the rival Rapid Support Forces have been dashed as the leaders of both sides refuse to negotiate with the other.

Speaking separately to Al Jazeera, both army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF head Mohamed Hamdan 'Hemedti' Dagalo said that they refused direct talks with the other side.

Earlier on Thursday, residents of Sudan's capital reported renewed heavy gunfire over central Khartoum and some other areas as many tried to flee the city on the eve of the Eid holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. 

Khartoum and its sister cities Omdurman and Bahri have been rocked by fierce battles this week between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that have shut the city down, stranding many and causing food supplies to run short.

Nearly 300 people have been killed over the past five days, according to the UN's health agency.

Early on Thursday, smoke and fires that had risen from the city in previous days had abated, live TV feeds over Khartoum showed, before the fighting erupted once again.

Gunfire was heard in Bahri and residents reported violent clashes west of Omdurman where they said the army had moved to block the arrival of RSF reinforcements.

Both sides said earlier they would respect a 24-hour ceasefire that was due to come into effect at 6 pm local time (1600 GMT) on Wednesday, but was quickly broken by renewed fighting.


The RSF issued a statement about the breakdown in the truce, saying it came under attack in Omdurman and inflicted losses on the army in response, including shooting down two helicopters.

The RSF's claims could not be independently verified. 

Some of the most intense fighting has been focused around the compound housing the army HQ and the residence of Sudan's military ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

The army controls access to Khartoum and appeared to be trying to cut off supply routes to RSF fighters, residents and witnesses said.

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International powers, struggling to evacuate citizens after the airport and several districts housing embassies were caught up in the violence, have been pushing repeatedly for truces, to little effect.

More people have been leaving the capital with most able to pass but some stopped at checkpoints, according to residents and social media posts.

5:21 PM
The New Arab Staff

This live blog has now ended. Follow The New Arab on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for the latest news on the situation in Sudan. 

A summary of events at the end of April 20th: 

  • The two rival generals were unable to reach a ceasefire over Eid-al-Fitr
  • The Egyptian army confirmed the return of three flights of Egyptian troops that were stationed in Sudan
  • The RSF claimed that the Egyptian soldiers it had captured had been handed over to the Red Cross
4:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN 'greatly alarmed' by Sudan violence

The United Nations said Thursday it was "greatly alarmed" by the escalating violence in Sudan, with between 10,000 and 20,000 people having already fled to seek safety in Chad.

"In the past days, an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people have fled the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region to seek refuge in neighbouring Chad," the UN refugee agency said in a statement, citing figures from its teams at the border.

3:47 PM
The New Arab Staff

Sudan military leader Burhan says he sees no partner for negotiations

Sudan's military ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said on Thursday he could not currently see a partner for negotiations on ending the conflict that has engulfed his country.

"I do not think there is any room for talks over politics again with the Rapid Support Forces", Burhan told Al Jazeera  in a live phone interview.

Burhan said he was open for mediation but there will be no "direct" talks with the paramilitaries.

"There is no other option but the military solution," he added. 

The army chief also accused elements in the RSF of "closing roads and preventing the free movement of people" in many regions.

This comes after RSF chief Mohamed Hamdan 'Hemedti' Dagalo said he would be willing to call a truce over Eid-ul-Fitr. 

2:44 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

RSF leader ready for truce on Eid-al-Fitr

General Mohamed Hamdan 'Hemedti' Dagalo, the head of Sudan's paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), told Al Jazeera TV that he had "no objection" to implement a truce over the Eid-al-Fitr holiday.

Eid-ul-Fitr is likely to be celebrated on Friday or Saturday in most parts of the world, and marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Hemedti's forces have been engaged in fierce fighting against Sudan's armed forces led by Hemedti's former ally General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. 

Hemedti added that the army was unwilling to enforce a truce, and called army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan a "criminal".

12:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Some 320 Sudan troops flee fighting to Chad: N'Djamena

Around 320 Sudanese soldiers have fled the fighting raging in their country to neighbouring Chad, the country's defence minister said Wednesday.

"They arrived in our territory, were disarmed and detained" on Sunday, General Daoud Yaya Brahim told a press conference, saying the troops feared being killed by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) battling those of army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

"The situation in Sudan is worrying and deplorable, we have taken all the necessary measures in the face of this crisis," the minister said.

He added, however, that "this war does not concern us, it's between the Sudanese, and we must remain vigilant against all eventualities."

He declined to give further details. 

11:33 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Three flights of Egyptian troops have returned home from Sudan: Egyptian army

The Egyptian army said on Thursday that three flights carrying its troops had arrived at a Cairo airbase from Sudan the previous day, confirming an earlier statement by the Sudanese Armed Forces on the return of the soldiers to Egypt.

In a statement, the army also said that other Egyptian troops still in Sudan had reached Egypt's embassy in Khartoum in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Earlier, Sudan's paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which is battling the Sudanese army, said it had handed over 27 Egyptian soldiers in its custody to the Red Cross on Thursday morning.

The Egyptian troops had been in Sudan to take part in training exercises. 


10:40 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Sudan: RSF says it handed 27 Egyptian troops to Red Cross

Sudan's paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) said on Thursday it had handed over 27 Egyptian soldiers it had been holding to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The RSF had detained the soldiers after storming Merowe airbase in northern Sudan, where they had been part of routine joint military exercises between the two countries.

Reuters could not immediately confirm whether the ICRC had been involved in any handover of the soldiers.


"In appreciation of the historic and special brotherhood relationships that bind the people of Sudan and Egypt, and in fulfillment of their declared commitment to preserve the sisterhoods of Egypt, and in compliance with international laws and customs, the Rapid Support Forces, on Thursday morning, April 20, 2023, handed over (27) military members of the sister Arab Republic of Egypt to the International Red Cross. They soldiers were delivered today were at Merowe Military Base and were kept by the Rapid Support Forces from 15 to 20 April 2023 and were in excellent health until the moment of their handover with all their belongings to the International Committee of the Red Cross," the group said in Facebook.

The statement added: "The Rapid Support Forces would like to extend its thanks to the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt led by His Excellency President Abdul Fattah El-Sisi, and also thank the efforts of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and all sister and friend countries that contacted the Rapid Support Command in this regard, and a special thanks to the International Committee of the Red Cross for cooperation and coordination."

10:29 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Sudanese civilians mobilize relief online as fighting rages in Khartoum

Trapped inside their homes for days as intense street battles rage between Sudan's rival generals, Khartoum's residents have banded together on social media offering aid, advice and support.

WhatsApp groups crowd-source needs, while medical professionals upload first-aid video tutorials, and others in the city of more than five million people work together to provide any support they can.

Like many Sudanese barricaded in their homes - avoiding windows for fear of gunfire - Twitter user Mujtaba Musa turned to social media, asking over 200,000 followers to "share calls for help" to "try to connect those in need."

Since fighting erupted on Saturday, with fighter jets launching air strikes in the city and artillery fire in densely populated areas, civilians have become increasingly desperate, with dwindling food supplies, power outages, and a lack of running water.

On Twitter, under the Arabic hashtags like #Khartoum_Needs, residents of each district have been mobilising support and solidarity.

On WhatsApp, hundreds of users joined a group to pool resources.

The messages are heart-breaking: Kholood needs baby formula, Hisham is looking for a car, and a third anonymous user pleads for a phone credit top-up to call his family.

Others provide advice: what to put in an escape bag, which doctors to call, or how to handle a panic attack.

Nearly 300 people have died in the fighting so far, as thousands of others try to flee the capital. 

9:55 AM
The New Arab Staff

Welcome to The New Arab's live updates on the unfolding situation in Sudan. 

Here is what we know so far:

  • Fighting continues into its sixth day in Khartoum and its twin cities of Bahri and Omdurman, after a second attempt at a ceasefire between the warring parties broke down.
  • Nearly 300 people have been killed over the past five days, according to the UN's health agency. Thousands of people are fleeing Khartoum, according to social media posts, as critical supplies of food and medicine dwindle in the capital. 
  • The fighting stems from a conflict between army general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, often known as Hemedti. The two former allies have turned foes, and are fighting for control of the capital.