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PORT SUDAN - 10 Mar 2024

Sudanese army rules out truce during Ramadan

A senior Sudanese army general said there would be no truce in the month of Ramadan with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) unless it leaves the homes and sites of civilians.

Lieutenant General Yasir Al-Atta, Assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese army, said this on Saturday during the graduation of Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) forces in Kassala.

The statement comes after an appeal by the United Nations Security Council for a truce during Ramadan, which begins this evening. The paramilitary RSF said it welcomed the ceasefire call.

Gen. Al-Atta elaborated that Sudan’s military chief, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, had made it clear to all interlocutors that a ceasefire with the RSF was impossible due to their perceived lack of “morals and disregard for the law.”

“A ceasefire is only possible if the ‘Janjaweed’ withdraws from the city of Geneina, Zalingei, Nyala, and El-Daein, and all the towns and villages of Darfur, and if they withdraw from all the towns and villages and neighborhoods of Kordofan, as well as those of Al-Gezira, and if they completely withdraw from the national capital,” Gen. Al-Atta said.

“There are also those who talk about negotiations. There is no negotiation except after implementing the conditions of the ceasefire outlined by the President,” he added.

He also said there should be no role for Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the RSF leader commonly known as Hemedti, in Sudan's future politics or military.

War between Sudan's army and the RSF erupted in mid-April 2023 amid tensions over a plan for transition to civilian rule. The two factions staged a coup in 2021 that derailed a previous transition following the 2019 overthrow of autocratic former leader Omar al-Bashir.

The army has been on the back foot militarily for much of the conflict. The RSF occupied large swathes of the capital in the first days of fighting.

The United Nations says nearly 25 million people - half Sudan's population - need aid, some 8 million have fled their homes and hunger is rising. Washington says the warring parties have committed war crimes.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also urged a Ramadan cessation of hostilities.

Sudan's U.N. ambassador told the U.N. security council on Thursday that the head of the army and ruling council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan commended Guterres' appeal, but was wondering how it could be implemented.