Renewed clashes threaten ceasefire in Sudan amidst humanitarian crisis
The Sudanese capital experienced renewed clashes between the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on Wednesday, the second day of the ceasefire, jeopardizing the seven-day agreement that began on Monday.
Meanwhile, a pilot was arrested after his plane crashed on the outskirts of Omdurman, adding to the escalating tensions.
Yussef Ezzat, the political advisor to the RSF commander, alleged that the Sudanese army breached the ceasefire by launching warplane attacks on RSF positions in Khartoum. According to Ezzat, the paramilitary forces retaliated and successfully shot down a “MiG warplane”, capturing one of the two pilots onboard.
Activists shared images and videos showing a burning warplane that crashed in a public square in the Umbada area, west of Omdurman, while both pilots managed to parachute to safety. The RSF fighters apprehended one of the pilots.
Contradicting the RSF’s claims, the Sudanese army attributed the plane crash to a technical failure in the engine.
Military experts identified the aircraft as a Chinese FTC-2000 Mountain Eagle, a two-seat jet trainer and light combat aircraft. It remains uncertain whether the rebels possess anti-aircraft weaponry capable of downing such an aircraft.
Eyewitnesses reported that the warplane conducted airstrikes on RSF positions at the Sports City and other locations south of Khartoum.
Additionally, clashes involving heavy weapons erupted in several areas of the capital, including Al-Quz, Al-Rumaila, Al-Hilla Al-Jadida, and Al-Shajara, the latter being the headquarters of the army’s armoured forces.
In the neighbouring city of Omdurman, clashes unfolded in al-Fatihab, al-Morada, and Banat, which are in close proximity to the army’s corps of engineers.
These escalations undermine the ceasefire agreement and pose a threat to the fragile peace in the region.
While the humanitarian aid operation is yet to commence, the RSF members continue to maintain control over vehicles in the areas under their authority.
The dire humanitarian conditions persist, with over 1.3 million people displaced from their homes in Khartoum and the remaining population enduring worsening circumstances on a daily basis.
The situation in Khartoum remains highly volatile, and efforts to restore peace and provide vital humanitarian assistance face significant challenges amidst the ongoing clashes.
The Monitoring Mechanism that oversees the ceasefire did not issue a statement about the clashes that occurred on Wednesday.
During a press briefing on Tuesday, Matthew Miller, the U.S. State Department Spokesperson stated that the Monitoring Mechanism consists of 12 members, including representatives from the U.S. and Saudi Governments, as well as the SAF and RSF, has three main objectives.
These objectives include “one to identify violations of the ceasefire; two, to publicly hold accountable the parties for the violations of the ceasefire; and then three, so we have evidence that we can use to privately press the parties”.
These discussions aim to address ceasefire violations promptly and press the parties to cease hostilities. Additionally, Miller noted that the State Department possesses various tools that can be utilized if necessary to address the situation effectively.
Miller emphasized that the State Department has been actively engaging with top-ranking generals and officials from both the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) since the conflict began.