The regular army and the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have accused each other of not adhering to the ceasefire.
Heavy fighting erupted in Sudan hours after an internationally brokered truce was supposed to go into effect, with forces loyal to the dueling general vying for key sites in the capital and accusing each other of violating the ceasefire.
A few minutes after the agreed 6pm (16:00GMT) start of the ceasefire, loud gunfire sounded in the background live on several TV news channels in the Khartoum capital region on Tuesday.
The regular army and the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) issued statements accusing each other of not adhering to the ceasefire. The army high command said it would continue operations to ensure the safety of the capital and other areas.
“We have not received any sign of the fighting stopping here,” UN spokesman Stephen Dujarric told a news conference in New York.
Clashes erupted between Sudan’s military leader and his deputy in Sudan’s ruling council four days ago, undermining an internationally-backed plan for a transition to civilian democracy following the massacre of former leader Omar al-Bashir. It fell four years after protests, as well as in a military coup.
The fighting has unleashed what the United Nations has described as a humanitarian catastrophe, including the near collapse of the health system. The organization’s World Food Program suspended operations after three of its staff were killed.
At least 185 people have been killed in the clashes, according to the United Nations.
Speaking in Japan on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said he had called two rival leaders — Army chief General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and Rapid Support Forces leader Mohammad Hamdan Dagalo – and called for a ceasefire “to reunite the Sudanese with their families safely” and to provide them with relief.
Both sides say they support the truce
Both sides told Al Jazeera they supported the agreed ceasefire.
“We are eager to implement a truce and restore normal life in the city. But the RSF is a militia that respects nothing,” said Colonel Khaled Al-Akida, a spokesman for the army.
Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders said it would abide by its terms in the truce.
“Our troops deployed in various parts of Khartoum are committed to the ceasefire,” Moussa Khaddam, adviser to the Rapid Support Forces commander, told Al Jazeera.
Al-Burhan heads a ruling council formed after a military coup in 2021 and the ouster of al-Bashir in 2019, and Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, is his deputy on the ruling council.
Their power struggle has stymied plans for a shift to civilian rule after decades of authoritarian and military rule in Sudan, which sits at a strategic crossroads between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Africa’s restive Sahel region.
Unless contained, the violence also risks attracting support for actors from different factions in the Sudanese region.
A previously agreed shorter ceasefire on Sunday was also widely ignored. Barrages, fighter jet attacks and street fighting have made travel in Khartoum nearly impossible, with residents and foreigners trapped in their homes.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it was almost impossible to provide humanitarian services in the area around the capital. It warned that Sudan’s health system was in danger of collapsing.