Sudan fighting flares but military approves ceasefire extension


Sudan's army and a paramilitary force battled on Khartoum's outskirts on Wednesday, undermining a truce in their 11-day conflict, but the army expressed willingness to extend the ceasefire.

The army late on Wednesday said its leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, gave initial approval to a plan to extend the truce for another 72 hours and send an army envoy to the South Sudan capital, Juba, for talks.

The Sudanese armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) previously agreed to a three-day ceasefire that was due to expire late on Thursday.

There was no immediate response from the RSF to the proposal from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional bloc.

The military said the presidents of South Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti worked on a proposal that includes extending the truce and talks between the two forces.

"Burhan thanked the IGAD and expressed an initial approval to that," the army statement said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat discussed working together to create a sustainable end to the fighting, the State Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

Some of Wednesday's heaviest battles were in Omdurman, a city adjoining Khartoum where the army was fighting RSF reinforcements from other regions of Sudan, a Reuters reporter said.

In Khartoum, which together with two bordering cities is one of Africa's largest urban areas, gangs marauded and there was widespread looting.

Since fighting erupted on April 15, air strikes and artillery have killed at least 512 people, wounded nearly 4,200, destroyed hospitals and limited food distribution in the vast nation where a third of the 46 million people were already reliant on humanitarian aid.

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