Sudan fighting mars shaky truce as ex-regime members flee prison
Sudanese war crimes suspect, part of the Islamist regime ousted in 2019, has escaped jail as heavy battles rocked the country Wednesday, heightening fears for a fragile ceasefire.
On the second full day of a three-day truce, witnesses reported “heavy air strikes” in East Nile, east of the capital, and “a huge explosion in the direction of a paramilitary camp”.
Warplanes flew over northern suburbs of Khartoum, drawing heavy anti-aircraft fire from the paramilitaries, witnesses told AFP.
In southern Khartoum, machinegun fire was reported near one of the homes owned by paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who has led the heavily armed Rapid Support Forces (RSF) into war against the armed forces, under army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
The army said Wednesday it would send a representative to Juba, capital of neighbouring South Sudan, for talks with the RSF “at the initiative of IGAD”, the East African regional bloc.
The talks will aim to “extend the truce by 72 hours”, the armed forces said, as the current one, which has been largely ignored, is due to end on Thursday evening.
In the chaos — which has killed hundreds, sparked an exodus, and deepened humanitarian suffering — Ahmed Harun, linked to deposed strongman Omar al-Bashir’s regime, said Tuesday he and others had escaped prison.
Harun is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in connection with the Bashir regime’s unleashing of Janjaweed militias against non-Arab ethnic minorities in Darfur.
Beginning in 2003, that conflict left around 300,000 dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN.
Daglo’s RSF are descended from the Janjaweed.
After being trapped in the empty Kober jail in “the crossfire of this current battle”, Harun said in a recorded TV address that he and fellow ex-regime members had taken “our protection in our own hands”.
The ICC prosecutor’s office said it was following developments but added there was no independent confirmation of the Kober detainees’ status.
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