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African Union calls for cessation of hostilities in Sudan

April 16, 2023 at 11:41 am

African Union (AU) [AMANUEL SILESHI/AFP via Getty Images]

The African Union (AU) on Saturday called for a cease-fire in Sudan amid clashes between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Anadolu reports.

“The chairperson fervently appeals to all parties, the armed forces and the rapid reaction forces, in particular, to immediately cease the destruction of the country, the panic of the population and the bloodshed,” said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the AU Commission chairperson.

Faki urged the international community to “combine, in unity and urgency, their efforts to bring the parties to immediately cease military actions and return to the negotiating table for a satisfactory end to the crisis for all.”

Fighting broke out early Saturday between the Sudanese army and RSF fighters in Khartoum, with gunfire and bombs heard near the army headquarters and presidential palace, according to an Anadolu reporter in Khartoum.

READ: Death toll rises to 56 as clashes continue in Sudan

While the RSF accused the army of attacking its forces south of Khartoum with light and heavy weapons, the military accused the paramilitary force of “spreading lies” and declared it a “rebel” group.

Meanwhile, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, Guinea-Bissau’s president and chairman of the Economic Community of West African States bloc (ECOWAS), said: “I call on the rival factions for calm and dialogue with a cessation of hostilities, in the name of peace and the cohesion of the country.”

Kenya’s President William Ruto has also called for an end to hostilities in Sudan.

“I implore all parties to address any differences through peaceful means for the sake of the security of the people of Sudan and stability in the country and the region, especially during this Holy month of Ramadan,” Ruto said on Twitter.

South Sudan’s Foreign Ministry also voiced concern over the situation in Sudan and said: “The Republic of South Sudan that brokered the Sudan Peace Agreement in Juba and continues to remain a major guarantor of that Agreement, calls for immediate ceasefire and commencement of talks to resolve pertinent issues that led to the current situation.”

The dispute between the two sides came to the surface on Thursday when the army said recent movements by the RSF had happened without coordination and were illegal, with their rift centering around a proposed transition to civilian rule.

Sudan has been without a functioning government since October 2021 when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government and declared a state of emergency.

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