Sudan's army has suspended its participation in ceasefire talks with its paramilitary foes, a spokesman said on Wednesday. The move raises fears of a renewed escalation in fighting that has already displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
Talks with the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which it has been battling for weeks for control of the country, had resulted in several promises to protect civilians as well as two ceasefire deals that have been consistently breached.
The development was a blow to the United States and Saudi Arabia which have mediating between the two sides whose conflict has plunged Sudan into chaos.
Brig. Nabil Abdalla, a spokesman for the Sudanese armed forces, told the Associated Press that the move was to protest the RSF's “repeated violations” of the humanitarian cease-fire, including their continued occupation of hospitals and other civilian infrastructure in the capital, Khartoum.
The RSF, led by Burhan's deputy-turned-foe Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, said they will "exercise their right to defend themselves" and accused the army of violating the truce.
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Since fighting erupted between the rival security forces on April 15, more than 1,800 people have been killed, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project.
The United Nations says more than a million people have been internally displaced and nearly 350,000 have fled abroad, including over 170,000 to Egypt.
More than half the population – 25 million people – are now in need of aid and protection, the UN says.