After almost a week of intense fighting that has left more than 330 people dead and tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the country, one of Sudan’s two warring factions has declared a 72-hour truce. The announcement was made by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), but there has been no confirmation of a ceasefire from its rival Sudan Armed Forces (SAF).
The ceasefire comes just ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. In a statement on Twitter, the RSF said that the truce was intended to coincide with the holiday and open humanitarian corridors to allow citizens to evacuate and greet their families.
Despite the RSF’s announcement, eyewitnesses reported that fierce fighting was still raging in Khartoum North, an area north of the capital, on Friday. SAF leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan expressed sadness for the victims of the fighting and prayed for a peaceful Eid, but made no mention of a truce in his on-camera statement on Friday.
The pleas for a truce have grown more urgent in recent days as the death toll climbs and hospitals in the capital Khartoum run out of supplies to treat survivors. The World Food Program (WFP) warned on Thursday that the fighting could force millions into hunger and prevent emergency food from reaching civilians. The ceasefire could provide a crucial window not just for aid distribution and medical care but also for foreign governments to reach their citizens stranded in Sudan. Egypt, Japan, and South Korea have already begun the evacuation process, with the United States also deploying additional capabilities nearby to assist with any potential evacuations.