After 10 days of devastating urban warfare resulting in hundreds of deaths, thousands injured, and a mass exodus of foreigners, a US-brokered 72-hour ceasefire between Sudan’s warring factions has taken effect. The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) agreed to halt hostilities following intense negotiations, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The ceasefire aims to establish humanitarian corridors for citizens and residents to access essential resources, healthcare, and safe zones, while also evacuating diplomatic missions. The Forces of Freedom and Change, the main civilian bloc ousted from power in a 2021 coup, expressed hope that the truce would allow for dialogue on a permanent ceasefire.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that Sudan is on “the edge of the abyss” and that the violence “could engulf the whole region and beyond.” With at least 427 people killed and over 3,700 wounded, UN agencies have documented the severe toll of the conflict.
In addition to the human cost, essential services have been severely impacted, with acute shortages of water, food, medicine, and fuel, as well as power and internet blackouts. While foreign-organized evacuations have enabled over 4,000 people to flee the country, millions of Sudanese remain trapped in one of the world’s poorest nations.
Guterres urged global powers to do everything within their capacity to “pull Sudan back from the edge of the abyss.” With an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Sudan requested by Britain, the international community is poised to discuss potential solutions to the crisis.
Despite the challenges, a UN convoy carrying 700 people managed to complete an 850-kilometer (530-mile) journey from the capital to Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast. Head of mission Volker Perthes confirmed the convoy’s safe arrival, while a UN statement added that key staff would remain in Sudan to work towards a resolution to the current crisis.
The future of Sudan hangs in the balance as the world watches, hoping that the 72-hour ceasefire will provide an opportunity for dialogue and a lasting solution to the escalating conflict.