Dozens dead, ceasefire urged as Sudan battles rage for second day



The deadly conflict between Sudan's army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in the capital Khartoum has killed at least 56 people and wounded hundreds, arousing international communities to urge a ceasefire and worry about further escalation.

Violence erupted early Saturday morning after weeks of deepening tensions between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, commander of the large and heavily-armed paramilitary RSF, with each accusing the other of starting the fight.

This is the first such outbreak since both joined forces to oust president Omar Hassan al-Bashir in 2019.

Both sides claim they control key sites. Daglo's RSF say they have seized the presidential palace, Khartoum airport and other strategic sites, but the army insist they are in charge, with the air force late Saturday urging people to stay indoors as it continued air strikes targeting RSF bases.

The RSF and the military have been competing for power as political factions negotiate forming a transitional government after a 2021 military coup.

"The total number of deaths among civilians reached 56," said the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors, adding there were also "tens of deaths" among security forces, as well as around 600 wounded.

End to the hostilities urged

The raging conflict in Sudan has triggered widespread concerns and efforts by neighbors and regional bodies to end the violence intensified on Sunday.

Egypt and South Sudan, the two most influential direct neighbors to Sudan, offered on Sunday to mediate between Sudan's army and RSF, calling on them to "choose the voice of reason (and) peaceful dialgoue.

The African Union's Peace and Security Council called an emergency session on Sunday to discuss political and security developments in Sudan. And the Arab League Council is holding an emergency meeting at the permanent representatives' level to discuss the current situation in Sudan.

Besides, China and other international powers have earlier appealed for an immediate end to the hostilities.

UN chief Antonio Guterres called for "an immediate cessation of hostilities," while a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said on Sunday that China urged both sides in Sudan's armed conflict to end fighting as soon as possible and prevent the escalation of tensions

The spokesperson added that China hoped parties in Sudan will increase dialogue and jointly move forward the political transition process.

But the two generals appeared in no mood for talks. In an interview with UAE-based Sky News Arabia, Daglo, also known as Hemeti, said, "Burhan the criminal must surrender."

The army declared Daglo a "wanted criminal" and the RSF a "rebel militia", saying there "will be no negotiations or talks until the dissolution" of the group.

The latest violence came after more than 120 civilians had already been killed in a crackdown on demonstrations over the past 18 months.