Sudan Capital Hit by Multiple Airstrikes After Cease-Fire Fails to Hold.

Multiple airstrikes and heavy fighting rocked Sudan’s capital after a proposed cease-fire to halt days of clashes between the army and a paramilitary group failed to hold.
The attacks posed a fresh obstacle to regional leaders who’ve attempted to travel to Khartoum this week to help negotiate a truce between military head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Rapid Support Forces leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. Clashes that erupted in the North African nation on April 15 have left more than 270 people dead and at least 2,600 others injured, according to the World Health Organization.
The army headquarters, the RSF’s offices and the densely populated Amarat area in Khartoum were targeted on Wednesday morning, with shelling continuing for several hours, residents said. Amged Farid, who served as an adviser to former Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, said he heard jets flying overhead and very loud explosions “since the early hours of the morning.” 
The African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a regional bloc, have been trying to dispatch officials to Khartoum since Monday to mediate an end to the conflict that has shattered hopes of a return to civilian rule after a 2021 coup, and sparked fears of a full-blown civil war. Foreign diplomats have also tried to intervene, the latest efforts including talks between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister.
“There are more and more people trying to leave Khartoum, but it’s difficult, it’s dangerous and there are many checkpoints,” said Germain Mwehu, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross. Many parts of the city had been left without water and hospitals were short-staffed and had limited supplies because the intense fighting made it difficult to move around, he said. 
Japan’s government is preparing to evacuate about 60 of its nationals, including embassy staff, who are currently in Sudan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters in Tokyo.
Medecins Sans Frontieres is facing challenges across the country, especially in Khartoum, Darfur and the states of North Kordofan and Gedaref, said Ghazali Babiker, the charity’s country representative.
“Our premises in Nyala, South Darfur, have been looted, including one of our warehouses,” he said. “In Khartoum, most teams are trapped by the ongoing heavy fighting and are unable to access warehouses to deliver vital medical supplies to hospitals. In Khartoum, even ambulances are being turned back. They are not being permitted to pass in order to retrieve the bodies of the dead from the streets, or to transport those who have been injured to hospital.”
With neither side appearing willing to back down, the conflict is likely to be protracted and runs the risk of drawing in neighboring countries, Verisk Maplecroft said in a research note this week.
The renewed fighting on Wednesday came in spite of attempts to introduce a 24-hour truce starting from 6 p.m. Sudan-time Tuesday. The army had given mixed signals over whether it would observe the truce, with one official accusing the RSF of mobilizing while requesting the pause.
In a Twitter posting, the RSF accused the army of violating the cease-fire, moving more troops and armed militia toward Khartoum and bombing heavily populated areas, hospitals, markets and power supply lines.
South Sudan’s acting Foreign Minister Deng Dau Deng said his nation’s oil exports, which flow through pipelines that traverse Sudan, haven’t been affected by the violence. The president of South Sudan, one of the eight IGAD members, will travel to Sudan when it’s safe to do so, he said. 
“The going of President Salva Kiir and the other leaders depended on a cease-fire,” Deng said by phone. “When we get a guarantee that the airport is safe and the leaders will be safe in Khartoum then we will advise the president to go.”
Any cessation of hostilities will almost certainly need to be driven by regional Arab powers, because of their interests in the country, said Jonas Horner, an independent analyst following Sudan.
“Worryingly, however, those with the greatest weight, Egypt and the UAE, have systematically empowered Sudanese Armed Forces and the RSF respectively, facilitating the political and military strengthening of both forces and resulting in the catastrophic levels of destruction across at least half a dozen Sudanese cities,” he said by phone.

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