SUDAN UNREST: Ceasefire extended but fighting continues

Rival factions of Sudan’s military have agreed to renew a three-day ceasefire, shortly before it was due to expire.

The extension – for another 72 hours – follows intensive diplomatic efforts by neighboring countries, as well as the US, UK, and UN.

But there are continuing reports of heavy fighting in the capital Khartoum.

The previous truce allowed thousands of people to attempt to flee to safety, while dozens of countries have tried to evacuate their citizens.

Almost two weeks of fighting between the army and a rival paramilitary group have left hundreds dead.

The ceasefire had been expected to end at midnight local time (22:00 GMT).

Early on Thursday evening the Sudanese army agreed to an extension, and its rival the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) followed suit hours later.

South Sudan has offered to host peace talks, and the army has agreed in principle to send representatives to the talks.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was “very actively working” to extend the truce, adding that while imperfect it had reduced violence.

But White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre later said the situation could worsen at any moment.

Fighting has also been reported in the western Darfur region and other provinces.

At least 512 people have been killed in the fighting and almost 4,200 injured, although the real number of deaths could be much higher.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it expected there to be “many more” deaths due to outbreaks of disease and a lack of services.

Health officials say most hospitals in conflict areas are not functioning, and more than 60% of health facilities in Khartoum are inactive.

Foreign nations, including the UK, have been urging their citizens to leave the country as soon as possible.

Speaking on Thursday evening, Ms Jean-Pierre urged Americans to depart within the next 24 hours.

Evacuations are continuing, but many foreigners are still stuck in Sudan. Some have struggled to get to the airstrip used for evacuations.

Local civilians are continuing to flee the capital, where there are problems with supplies of food, water and fuel.

The fighting broke out on 15 April as the result of a bitter power struggle between the regular army and RSF.

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