violence in sudan cuts through u s brokered cease fire

Washington had hoped to work with other countries during the pause to help permanently end the fighting. Instead, the warring generals violated it just hours after it began.

A United States-brokered cease-fire in Sudan appeared to be on shaky ground on Tuesday as gunfire and loud explosions erupted in Khartoum, the capital, threatening continued efforts by thousands of people to flee a conflict that has ripped through Africa’s third-largest nation for more than a week.

In pockets across Khartoum, residents reported low-flying warplanes and loud blasts near their homes. Many had hoped for a quieter day that would allow them to gain access to food and water or to flee the city altogether. Countries including Britain, France and Turkey took advantage of the pause in fighting, however spotty, to begin risky evacuations of their citizens.

“Yes, definitely, they are still fighting,” said Musab Abdalhadi, 27, a Khartoum resident who lives in the city’s Al-Zuhour neighborhood and who spoke over the din of military clashes in the background.

The clashes came just hours after the U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, announced that the warring parties — the Sudanese Army, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, led by Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan — had agreed to a 72-hour nationwide cease-fire. During the pause, the United States had hoped to engage with other countries on a peace process that would permanently end the hostilities.

Although both rival groups said late Monday that they had agreed to the cease-fire, by Tuesday morning it appeared not to have held, with residents reporting cracks of gunfire and shelling in the capital. The paramilitary force also accused the army of attacking its positions near the presidential palace in Khartoum.

The broken truce was the latest in a series of proposed cease-fires that the two warring parties have not adhered to since violence erupted on April 15 — although a respite in violence during the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday allowed for the evacuation of diplomatic personnel from the country.

The conflict has upended life in Sudan, with at least 459 people killed and more than 4,000 others wounded, according to the World Health Organization, as the two generals vie for control of the country.

Amid all of this, foreign governments have been evacuating their embassy officials and citizens through airlifts or through long convoys by road to Egypt or a port on the Red Sea.

Civilians boarded buses leaving Sudan’s capital to escape the fighting between two rival generals that has killed hundreds of people.Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

On Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain announced a large-scale evacuation of British passport holders out of Sudan using military flights, with priority given to older and sick people and to families with children. Mr. Sunak’s announcement came after many British nationals expressed frustration that they or their loved ones had not been evacuated, even as other countries revealed plans to repatriate both their diplomatic staffs and citizens.

France has evacuated more than 500 people, including about 200 French nationals and citizens from 40 other countries, Col. Pierre Gaudillière, a spokesman for the general staff of the French armed forces, said on Tuesday. And Ukraine’s military intelligence agency said in a statement on Tuesday that it had evacuated 87 Ukrainians and 51 citizens of Georgia and Peru from Khartoum.

Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a television interview that his country had so far evacuated 1,490 people, including 110 non-Turkish nationals, by bus. Some had arrived in Ethiopia, and some were still en route. He pledged to get the remaining Turkish citizens out by Tuesday.

Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, also said late Monday that the United States military was positioning “naval assets” off the coast of Sudan “should they be needed.” The naval destroyer U.S.S. Truxtun is near Port Sudan, and the U.S.S. Lewis B. Puller, a specialized ship that serves as a floating base for special operations forces, is on the way.

The American military was also assisting the evacuation efforts by providing drones to observe potential land routes out of Sudan and to detect possible threats, the general said.

Getting bread in northern Khartoum on Saturday, while clashes continued.Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters

For now, civilians in Sudan said that they remained in danger after the generals’ promise to uphold a truce was shattered.

In the capital and beyond, tens of thousands of people have fled their homes for neighboring cities and poured into neighboring countries including Chad, Egypt and South Sudan. But even after reaching safety, many are finding it hard to afford basic goods and services.

In Wad Madani, a city about 100 miles southeast of Khartoum where thousands have arrived, prices had jumped 40 to 100 percent, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council. Bottles of water were selling at double the usual price, fuel was being touted at a 1,600 percent markup on the black market, and the rent of a one-bedroom apartment had spiked to $67 to $100 per night, the refugee council said.

In the western Sudanese region of Darfur, the looting of aid agencies and the burning of houses continued, leading to large-scale displacement, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement.

Health care facilities were also damaged in the clashes. On Tuesday, the W.H.O. cited the Sudanese Health Ministry in saying that more than one-third of the medical facilities in the country were not functional. In Khartoum alone, an estimated 219,000 pregnant women are unable to seek antenatal or postnatal care, according to the United Nations Population Fund, including 24,000 who are expected to give birth in the coming weeks.

And on Tuesday, the W.H.O. representative in Sudan warned of a high risk of biological hazard after one of the warring sides seized a major laboratory in Khartoum. Speaking to reporters on video, the representative, Nima Saeed Abid, declined to specify which group had taken over the facility, but he said that they had kicked out technicians from the lab, which holds samples of poliovirus, measles and other hazardous materials.

In Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city across the Nile, several homes were destroyed by shelling on Tuesday, residents said, and a hospital was hit by artillery fire in the early hours of the day.

“We were hoping for the cease-fire to be enforced by both sides,” said Gasim Amin Oshi, a resident of the city. “But unfortunately, because we know them, because we know their history, they never keep their word.”

A house hit in recent fighting in Khartoum, on Tuesday.Marwan Ali/Associated Press

Reporting was contributed by Lynsey Chutel, Constant Méheut, Isabella Kwai, Nick Cumming-Bruce, Marc Santora, John Ismay and Gulsin Harman.

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