What truce? Citizens of Sudan respond to 'meaningless' seventh ceasefire

What truce? Citizens of Sudan respond to 'meaningless' seventh ceasefire
Sudanese civilians have responded with anger and derision as looting has continued unabated - while some residents believe that the truce has even provided cover for fighters to increase their plunder.
3 min read
24 May, 2023
Safety is still non-existent as fighters roam the streets of Sudan's major cities [Getty]

Civilians in Sudan have responded with anger and derision as the seventh consecutive ceasefire has failed to protect them from looting, gunfights and hunger.

Two days since the latest US and Saudi-brokered ceasefire came into effect, residents of Khartoum and Omdurman, Sudan’s two largest cities, have still seen fighting on the streets, airstrikes and heavy artillery fire in densely-populated areas. 

Residents of Omdurman have even reported RSF fighters opening fire on civilians in urban areas and chasing them through their neighbourhoods. 

Some areas saw relative calm through Tuesday and Wednesday, with fighters taking time to consolidate their positions. 

Looting has also continued unabated - and some residents believe that the truce has provided cover for fighters to increase their plundering of civilian property and key parts of the Sudanese infrastructure. 

"A ceasefire without genuine cessation of hostilities and political solution is just meaningless," Sudanese activist Hala al-Karib told The New Arab from inside Sudan. 

"If anything the truce has allowed for more looting, more kidnapping and sexual abuse - because this war is one where civilians are the spoils. This war is fought over their bodies, their homes and businesses - and they become the human shields," said al-Karib. 

The MSF headquarters in Khartoum have even been looted, and medical sites across the country have been repeatedly raided for medicine and valuable equipment.

"We are experiencing a violation of humanitarian principles and the space for humanitarians to work is shrinking on a scale I've rarely seen before," said Jean-Nicolas Armstrong Dangelser, MSF’s emergency coordinator in Sudan.

"After the looting of one of our medical warehouses in Khartoum, fridges were unplugged and medicines removed.

"The entire cold chain was ruined so the medicines are spoiled and can’t be used to treat anyone."

Surgeons have even been reduced to performing operations using the torchlights on their phones. 

While both forces show no shred of inclination to compromise or reconcile, many Sudanese residents believe that the ceasefire makes conditions even more dangerous. 

People and their homes, businesses, and possessions are now vulnerable to both sets of soldiers making the most of the superficial calm. 

"The aim is to strip the citizens of Khartoum of their modest possessions and humiliate them. Ultimately, the truce allows for more freedom to continue the real battle - against the Sudanese people," said Hala al-Karib.