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    HomeWorldDespite a 3-day ceasefire, Shootouts Continue in Sudan Capital during Eid-ul-Fitr while...

    Despite a 3-day ceasefire, Shootouts Continue in Sudan Capital during Eid-ul-Fitr while Army Advances on Foot

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    Gunfire broke out in several neighbourhoods of Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan, on the first day of Eid al Fitr, a Muslim holiday. The army deployed on foot for the first time in its week-long fight with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Soldiers and gunmen from RSF shot at each other in residential areas of the north, west, and centre of the city. The fighting has killed hundreds and undermined an effort by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to broker a temporary truce over the three-day holiday to allow civilians to reach safety.

    The conflict between two previously allied leaders of the ruling military junta, army chief Burhan and RSF leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, risks drawing in Sudan’s neighbours and could play into regional competition between Russia and the United States. The violence was triggered by disagreement over an internationally backed plan to form a new civilian government four years after the fall of autocrat Omar al-Bashir to mass protests, and two years after a military coup. Both sides accuse the other of thwarting the transition.

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    The World Health Organization said at least 413 people have already been killed and thousands injured in the conflict. Hospitals are under attack and up to 20,000 people have fled to neighbouring Chad. Even before the conflict, about a quarter of Sudan’s people were facing acute hunger. The United Nations World Food Programme halted its Sudan operation, one of its largest, on Saturday after three of its workers were killed.

    The RSF condemned the military for what it said were new assaults. Thousands of civilians streamed out of Khartoum as gunfire and explosions sounded on Thursday. Large numbers also crossed into Chad to flee fighting in the western region of Darfur. In El Fasher in North Darfur, a maternity hospital repurposed to treat casualties from fighting was overwhelmed and rapidly running out of supplies. Most of the 279 wounded patients the hospital received since Saturday were civilians hit by stray bullets, many of them children, and 44 have died.

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    Guterres, speaking to reporters after meeting virtually with the heads of the African Union, the Arab League, and other organizations on Thursday, said that there was a strong consensus on condemning ongoing fighting in Sudan and calling for cessation of hostilities as an immediate priority. The United States endorsed the ceasefire proposal. Burhan told Al Jazeera he would support a truce on condition it allowed citizens to move freely which he said the RSF had prevented.

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