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Arab League calls for Sudan Eid ceasefire ‘in the name of Islam’

By Thursday, the total number of civilian casualties reached at least 198 as at least 1207 others were injured.

The Arab League has called on conflicting parties in Sudan on Wednesday to declare a ceasefire during Eid Al Fitr in adherence with “Islam, Arab values” as deadly clashes continued into the fifth day.

“I urge the Sudanese parties in the name of Islam, Arab values, and humanity to announce a ceasefire during the Eid holiday in order to enable civilians to respond to urgent humanitarian cases,” Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the bloc’s Secretary-General, said in a video message.

The official took the opportunity to remind the warring sides – the Sudanese army and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) – of the sanctity of Ramadan while urging them to halt fighting in order to avoid transforming Eid into a time of sadness.

Eid Al Fitr may fall on either Friday or Saturday, depending on the moon sightings in the region.

Aboul Gheit’s remarks came after a failed 24-hour armistice in Sudan on Wednesday as fighting continued.

Sudan’s deadliest violence in years broke out on Saturday in Khartoum between the Sudanese army, headed by General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and the RSF, led by former militia leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, widely known as Hemedti.

By Thursday, the total number of civilian casualties reached at least 198 and at least 1,207 others were injured, per figures shared by the Sudanese doctors’ syndicate.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it is running out of much-needed medical supplies across its hospitals in the conflict-stricken country.

“MSF has been providing life-saving medical care but our team cannot move, we are stuck in the conflict,” Sabrina Sharmin, MSF’s deputy operations manager in Sudan, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the RSF has suspended all flights from Khartoum International Airport since the beginning of the clashes and reports said the paramilitary had also captured Meroe’s airport.

However, a source in the Sudanese army told Al-Jazeera on Tuesday that they managed to regain control of Meroe’s airport.

On Sunday, the Arab League held an emergency meeting on Sudan, during which it echoed global calls for an immediate cessation of fighting. Aboul Gheit is also meeting with chiefs of the United Nations, the African Union, and the European Union on Thursday in a bid to halt the fighting.

The latest round of violence in Sudan is widely seen by critics as yet another coup attempt by the RSF, similar to one which took place in 2021. At the time, the junta placed Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and various other officials on house arrest before later releasing them.

The RSF emerged in 2013 from Janjaweed militias that were found complicit in crimes during the Darfur genocide in 2003. 

At least 300,000 people were killed and around 2.7 million were displaced during the genocide.

In 2011, Doha sponsored a negotiation process that resulted in the Darfur Peace Agreement, which brought together the government of Sudan and the armed movements to end the six-year-long Darfur conflict.

Sudan has grappled with a fragile path to democratic rule since the overthrow of Omar Al Bashir during the 2019 revolution, with the joint civilian and military government struggling to control a dire economic and political situation in the country.

Then in December last year, Sudanese political parties and the military signed a deal that aimed to pave the way for a two-year civilian transition period, though its fate remains in question as the fighting continues.