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US announces sanctions over Sudan truce violations

KHARTOUM, June 1 (Reuters) – The United States said on Thursday it was imposing economic sanctions and visa restrictions against actors “perpetuating violence” in Sudan as fighting continued in the capital Khartoum.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have been monitoring a ceasefire agreement that will last until Saturday night, raising hopes that it will end a war between Sudan’s military and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). English) rival paramilitaries.

The truce brought some reduction in fighting and allowed space for limited humanitarian aid, but fighting and airstrikes have continued largely without interruption since the conflict broke out on April 15.

Food and goods were looted in El Obeid, a regional center southwest of Khartoum, the World Food Program said. “Food for 4.4 million people is at stake,” agency chief Cindy McCain said.

“Despite a ceasefire agreement, senseless violence has continued across the country, hindering the delivery of humanitarian assistance and hurting those who need it most,” the national security adviser for the UN said in a statement. White House, Jake Sullivan.

The United States was imposing economic sanctions and visa restrictions as part of efforts to prevent a protracted conflict, the statement said, without elaborating which actors the measures targeted.

The conflict has thrown Sudan into a humanitarian crisis and turned one of Africa’s biggest cities, the tri-part capital of Khartoum, Omdurman and Bahri at the confluence of the Blue and White Niles, into a war zone.

Calling the ceasefire “incredibly flawed and incredibly fragile,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Oslo that the United States was “looking at steps we can take to clarify our view of any leader who is moving Sudan in the wrong direction”.

On Wednesday, the army announced it would withdraw from talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah, where the ceasefire agreement was reached and where mediators had been trying to reinforce and prolong the truce.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have listed serious ceasefire violations by both sides.

THE FIGHTING CONTINUES

Residents reported an increase in fighting early Thursday in parts of the capital and said heavy artillery fire could be heard in northern Omdurman and intermittent gunfire in southern Bahri.

“We are terrified by the sounds of heavy artillery around us. The house has been shaking,” said Nadir Ahmed, 49, in the Thawra neighborhood of Omdurman. “Where is this ceasefire we heard about?”

Clashes also continued near a market in southern Khartoum, where at least 19 people were killed and 106 wounded on Wednesday, according to a member of a local neighborhood committee.

He said the number of dead and injured was higher than official counts, as several people had been treated or buried at home by relatives wary of venturing to the hospital.

More than 1.2 million people have been displaced inside Sudan and another 400,000 have fled across borders, including 100,000 to neighboring Chad, the UN refugee agency said on Thursday.

At least 730 have been killed according to official counts dating back to last month, but the true numbers are likely to be much higher.

REGIONAL CLASHES

Outside of Khartoum, fighting has broken out in the main cities of the western Darfur region. A regional rights group said at least 50 people have been killed in the past week in the westernmost town of El Geneina, which has already seen hundreds killed in militia attacks and has been cut off from communications for more than 10 days.

In the town of Zalingei, he said the town’s hospital and university were looted and people were being “randomly” killed.

The sleepy Red Sea coastal city of Port Sudan has served as a base for the United Nations, aid groups and diplomats, as well as some government officials.

However, a curfew was declared in the city earlier this week when the army warned of “sleeper cells” sneaking into the city. Residents say buses have been prevented from entering the city, which is a key evacuation point.

“The army is carrying out strict security procedures in the city, particularly at night,” said resident Salah Mohamed.

Army and RSF leaders, who emerged from militias the government used to put down an earlier uprising in Darfur, held high positions in Sudan’s ruling council after former president Omar al-Bashir, also an army commander, was ousted. in 2019.

After Bashir was ousted in a popular uprising, the army led by RSF staged a coup in 2021 before handing over leadership to civilians. They then quarreled over the chain of command and the restructuring of the RSF under the planned transition to civilian rule.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Tala Ramadan in Dubai, Nafisa Eltahir in Cairo, Simon Lewis and Daphne Psaledakis in Washington, Gladwys Fouche in Oslo; Written by Aidan Lewis; Edited by Christina Fincher and Andrew Heavens

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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