Sudan's army agrees to extend ceasefire for 72 hrs as fighting rages on

Sudan's army agrees to extend ceasefire for 72 hrs as fighting rages on
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Sudanese fighter jets pounded paramilitaries in Khartoum on Thursday while deadly fighting and looting flared in Darfur, as the army said it would extend an existing ceasefire even as battles raged.
The army said it would extend the truce 'for an additional 72 hours' [source: Getty]

Sudanese Armed Forces agreed to extend the ongoing truce, mediated by the US and Saudi Arabia, for another 72 hours which will take effect from the date of the end of the current truce, a statement reported on Thursday.

The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) also said on Thursday it agreed to extend the ongoing truce.

The new truce will start at midnight on Friday.

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There have been multiple truce efforts since fighting broke out on April 15 between Sudan's army led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commanded by his deputy turned rival, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo. All have failed.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the ceasefire had been "imperfect", but "nonetheless has reduced violence".

"I hear intense shelling outside my home," a Khartoum resident told AFP on Thursday evening, asking not to be named.

On Thursday, warplanes patrolled over the capital's northern suburbs as fighters on the ground exchanged artillery and heavy machinegun fire, witnesses said.

At least 512 people have been killed and 4,193 wounded in the fighting, according to health ministry figures, although the real death toll is likely much higher.

Hospitals have been shelled and more than two thirds are out of service, the doctors' union said on Thursday, reporting at least eight civilians killed in Khartoum alone on Wednesday.

The World Food Programme has said the violence could plunge millions more into hunger in a country where 15 million people -- one-third of the population -- need aid.

Abdou Dieng, UN aid chief in Sudan, speaking from Port Sudan on Thursday, said he was "extremely worried about the situation", with food supplies a huge concern.