Clashes between rival military factions broke out on Wednesday in Sudan’s capital, residents said, threatening to shatter a fragile ceasefire designed to allow for the delivery of aid and lay the ground for a more lasting truce.
The ceasefire deal, which is being monitored by Saudi Arabia and the United States as well as the warring parties, comes after five weeks of intensive warfare in the capital Khartoum and outbursts of violence in other areas of the country, including the western region of Darfur.
Witnesses reported columns of black smoke rising to the west of central Khartoum and shelling near an army camp in southern Khartoum on Wednesday afternoon.
The sound of clashes and artillery fire could be heard in Bahri, one of the three cities around the confluence of the Blue Nile and White Nile rivers that make up Sudan’s greater capital.
Witnesses in Omdurman, the third city, reported that an army fighter plane had been shot down, and the RSF released videos appearing to show the incident. The footage could not immediately be verified. Earlier, residents reported artillery fire near the Wadi Sayidna military base on the outskirts of Omdurman.
The ceasefire had brought a relative lull in fighting in Khartoum on Tuesday, though little sign of a rapid scale-up in humanitarian relief.
Aid workers said that many of the supplies and staff arriving at Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast have been awaiting security permits and guarantees.
The fighting pits Sudan’s army against the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and erupted as plans for an internationally backed political transition toward elections under a civilian government were set to be finalised.
The ceasefire was agreed to on Saturday following Saudi and US-mediated talks in Jeddah. Previous ceasefire announcements have failed to stop the fighting.
Saudi Arabia and the United States late on Tuesday said members of a ceasefire monitoring mechanism, which includes representatives of the army and the RSF, had undertaken to engage their chains of command about reported truce violations.