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Warring factions in Sudan have agreed to a temporary truce

A man walks by a house hit in fighting in Khartoum, Sudan, on Tuesday.
Marwan Ali
/
AP
A man walks by a house hit in fighting in Khartoum, Sudan, on Tuesday.

Updated April 25, 2023 at 10:55 AM ET

Even as Sudan's warring generals agreed to a 72-hour truce, a physician in the capital of Khartoum says medical care has grown increasingly more dangerous in regions where shelling and airstrikes began more than ten days ago.

"I believe some of the forces that are involved in the conflict are kidnapping doctors," says Dr. Abdulsamad Doka.

Doka tells NPR he believes other physicians are being transported to makeshift hospitals and to treat the members of the rival military forces at gunpoint. He says he's treating patients at his home because of the "real threat" of abduction.

"Right now we are only able to work within the parameters of our neighborhoods," Doka says. "I'm literally, in some cases, having patients come to my house and operating on them."

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, tells Morning Edition she's hopeful that — unlike a cease-fire declared last week — a truce brokered by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia will hold, opening a window for more medical and humanitarian care and civilian departures.

"We're hoping this is better," Thomas-Greenfield says in an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep. "What we really are working toward is getting both parties to agree to implement a sustained nationwide cease-fire and go back to the negotiating table."

Support for Americans fleeing Sudan

Following the shuttering of the U.S. Embassy and an airlift of diplomatic personnel and their families from Khartoum on Saturday, an estimated 16,000 Americans, many with dual citizenship, remain in Sudan.

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield says people who want to leave are urged to make sure the "situation is safe" before attempting to flee. U.S. officials, she says, remain committed to supporting Americans who want to leave. "We can reach anyone we need to reach and we have been doing that."

Thomas-Greenfield insists the diplomatic withdrawal amounts to a "temporary suspension" of operations. "We fully intend to resume those operations as soon as it is safe for us to do so."

The ambassador to the United Nations describes "overland convoys" that the U.S. is assisting, just as it did with a U.N. evacuation Monday that involved about 1,000 people. "The president has directed our security and other forces to provide intel and overhead surveillance."

Refugee aid groups say tens of thousands of Sudanese civilians have crossed into bordering countries to escape a conflict that erupted when a power-sharing agreement between two military commanders broke down. The commander of Sudan's armed forces, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan and the leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, Gen. Mohammen Hamdan Dagalo, worked together to overthrow Sudan's government in a military coup in 2021. Aid groups have accused both Burhan and Dagalo, also known as Hemedit, of human rights atrocities in the past.

Despite reports of persistent heavy gunfire in the streets of Khartoum, Thomas-Greenfield tells Inskeep the U.S. will keep trying to broker a lasting truce. "We're going to continue our intense efforts at senior levels to engage with both parties and push them to the negotiating table."

Miranda Kennedy and Ally Schweitzer contributed editing and reporting. contributed to this story

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jan Johnson
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
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