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Residents 'Wait and See' As Clock Strikes on Sudan Cease-Fire

FILE: Sudan's General Abdelfattah Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, head of the Rapid Support Forces, shakes hands with General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan Abdelrahman, during his appointment to the transitional military council, April 13, 2019.

Aid workers, tourists and locals based in Sudan have expressed fear amid the conflict that has entered its fifth day in the northeast African nation, after fighting broke out between the Sudan Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

A new attempt at a cease-fire failed on Wednesday, leaving people fearful about dwindling food supplies as many remained trapped in their homes.

The 24-hour cease-fire deal was supposed to come into effect at 6 p.m. local time (1600 GMT), but two eyewitnesses in separate areas of the capital told Reuters that fighting had continued.

Wednesday's cease-fire announcement was a follow up to a previous truce agreement made Tuesday and brokered by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other international leaders but faced resistance from the rival forces who continued fighting.

Thomas Okedi, an aid worker with the Norwegian Refugee Council, is among those trapped in Sudan.

Okedi said he had no confidence that the rivals would suspend hostilities during Wednesday's newly proposed cease-fire.

"Since the war broke out in Sudan, there have been promises of about two cease-fires. None of them have been respected," Okedi said, adding, "so, I have no faith that even the current one that is being proposed is going to stop. Let’s wait and see."

The aid worker described the mood in Sudan as tense.

"Since the conflict started on Saturday, it’s been extremely tense where I am. Conflict keeps moving from one neighborhood to another and a lot of artillery and gunfire and a lot of displacement of people from one neighborhood to another from within the city," he said.

"So, the situation is tense and it’s now about five days since the conflict broke out and we still have no hope of it going into lull. So, it’s extremely worrying," he added.

Okedi’s sentiments were echoed by Hadeel Mohamed, a resident of Sudan's capital, Khartoum.

"We have been inside for the past four days. My brother occasionally would take a walk outside to ensure that, for example, the neighbors are okay or if they need electricity, because at first day we had electricity, and then we had an outage starting the second day on to until now," Mohamed said.

Mohamed said there is no indication as to how long the hostilities will last.

"The military is saying, oh, we’ve got this under control. It’s just going to be a day, then something king of situation, and it lasted obviously longer than we’ve anticipated."

The Khartoum resident added that she is fearful for her safety and that of her family members.

"It's not particularly a great situation because you can hear your brother walking outside the house and you can hear the clashing noise and you’re just like you're wonder if he’s going to come back," she said, adding, "was it worth it? Like it's just honestly the most suffering situation."

Henri Hemmerechts, a Belgian tourist visiting Sudan said he is stuck in the northeast African nation because the airport has been destroyed and movement is restricted.

"For the moment I see no one getting out of here. I mean there is not going to be an evacuation. There is not going to be any contingence coming here and saving the day. It’s just not going to happen," Hemmerechts said.

"The airport is destroyed. You know we are here for the long run. This is just the reality of it," he added.

He said resources are low in Khartoum and that people are living in fear.

"Resources are low, and there is children and mothers. This morning we had a mother crying uncontrollably because there were airstrikes at 200 meters. The ground is shaking, you know it’s just horrible," Hemmerechts added.

Some information in this report was sourced from Reuters. VOA’s Carol Van Dam also contributed.