Pope prays for peace in Sudan as fighting continues despite imminent ceasefire

Smoke billows from a building in south Khartoum, Friday May 19, 2023
Smoke billows from a building in south Khartoum, Friday May 19, 2023   -  Copyright  AFP
By Mark Armstrong  with AFP, EVN

Pope Frances prayed for peace on Sunday as fighting continued in and around the capital Khartoum despite a ceasefire agreed by both sides and due to come into force on Monday evening.

Sudan's army is resisting an attempt by paramilitaries to advance towards its main airbase near the capital. 

Rival generals agreed to a one-week ceasefire amid ongoing talks in Saudi Arabia.

It's the latest following many successive truces that have been systematically violated and is due to go into effect at 21:45 pm (1945 GMT) on Monday.

On Sunday the Pope expressed dismay that fighting is still going on and called on the international community to spare no effort so that dialogue prevails to ease the fighting.

“Please, let’s not get used to conflicts and violence, and let’s not get used to war, please,” Francis said.

The conflict pits the Sudanese army, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, against the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, led by Burhan's former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo. 

Around 1,000 people have been killed and over a million displaced throughout weeks of intense fighting, leaving millions more with sporadic access to water, electricity or medicine.

The agreement due on Monday also calls for the distribution of humanitarian assistance, restoring essential services and the withdrawal of forces from hospitals and critical public facilities.

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