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Sudan Fighting Continues Amid Cease-Fire Extension


Damaged cars and buildings are seen at the central market in Khartoum North

KHARTOUM — Fighting continued Thursday in Sudan’s capital Khartoum between the Sudan Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), despite an agreement between the rivals to extend the 72-hour cease-fire deal that was brokered by the U.S. and was set to expire last night.

Sudanese living in the capital Khartoum Thursday reported warplanes flying over the northern suburbs while witnessing the exchange of artillery and heavy machine gun fire from fighters.

"I hear intense shelling from outside my home," a Khartoum resident said.

Residents of Darfur said they witnessed similar fighting.

"We are locked up at home and too afraid to go out, so we can’t assess the scale of the damage," a Darfur resident said.

At least 74 people were killed in two days of fighting that broke out this week in the capital of Sudan's West Darfur state, the country's doctors' union said Friday.

The union gave a toll of "74 deaths" in the city of El Geneina for Monday and Tuesday, adding it was still unable to confirm the number of people killing during the rest of the week amid the ongoing clashes.

The United Nation’s humanitarian agency said fighting in West Darfur has resulted in the disruption of aid provided to “an estimated 50,000 acutely malnourished children.”

Abdou Dieng, the U.N.’s aid chief in Sudan, spoke from Port Sudan where he said he was “extremely worried about the situation,” with food supplies a huge concern.

Sudan’s health ministry reports at least 512 people were killed and 4, 193 injured resulting from the conflict, although the real death toll is likely higher.

The doctor’s union in the northeast African nation said eight civilians died on Wednesday and added that more than two-thirds of the hospitals are out of service due to shelling.

Despite reports of the ongoing conflict, the RSF said the cease-fire which was set to end at 2200GMT on Thursday was extended.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington welcomes the extension of the cease-fire.

"We welcome the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces' announcement extending the ceasefire in Sudan by an additional 72 hours," tweeted Blinken.

Washington's peace calls in Sudan were echoed by the African Union, the United Nations, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Britain.

The sentiments passed by the world leaders were shared through a recently issued joint statement that applauded the rivals for their "readiness to engage in dialogue toward establishing a more durable cessation of hostilities and ensuring unimpeded humanitarian access."

The statement adds that the dialogue could be followed by a de-escalation plan that was mapped out in the April 20 blueprint for peace.