Sudan’s army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has received separate phone calls from the United States, Saudi and Qatari foreign ministers, also the Turkish president and the Egyptian intelligence chief.
The calls came amid efforts to get both the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to agree to a three-day ceasefire across the Muslim Eid that starts on Friday.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also appealed to Sudan’s warring factions to observe a ceasefire over the Eid el-Fitr holiday to allow civilians to reach safe areas as the battle between rival forces entered its sixth day yesterday.
All parties, including calls from the UN secretary-general, and South Sudan and Ethiopia leaders, called for a stop to the violence and a resort to dialogue, as thousands of civilians fled out of the capital Khartoum on Thursday to a background of gunfire and explosions. Large numbers also crossed into Chad to flee fighting in the western region of Darfur.
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The US said it was sending more troops to the region in the event that it decided to evacuate its embassy in Khartoum.
More than 330 people have been killed so far in the violent power struggle that broke out last weekend between two previously allied leaders of Sudan’s ruling military government.
The fiercest battles between the army and the paramilitary RSF have been around Khartoum – one of Africa’s largest urban areas – and in Darfur, still scarred by a long conflict that ended three years ago.