KHARTOUM – The United States spoke to rival Sudanese commanders who have been waging fierce battles in Khartoum and beyond for a fourth day, telling them to stop fighting and to protect civilians and others after a U.S diplomatic convoy came under fire.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held separate calls with the army chief and head of the paramilitary Rapid Response Forces (RSF), whose power struggle has killed close to 200 people and derailed an internationally-backed deal for a shift to civilian government after decades of autocracy and military rule.
Blinken, speaking from Japan, said he had telephoned both RSF leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, and Sudan’s army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, appealing for a 24-hour ceasefire “to allow the Sudanese to be safely reunited with families” and to provide them with relief.
The secretary said a U.S. diplomatic convoy came under fire on Monday in an apparent attack by fighters associated with the RSF, adding that all those in the convoy were safe. He called the incident “reckless” and said any attacks or threats to U.S. diplomats were unacceptable.
Gunfire echoed across Sudan’s capital for a fourth day on Tuesday, accompanied by the sound of warplanes and explosions, a Reuters reporter said. Residents in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman, on the other side of the Nile, also reported air strikes that shook buildings and anti-aircraft fire.