Sudan Army General Rules Out Ramadan Truce Unless RSF Leaves Civilian Sites

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A top general from Sudan’s army has ruled out a truce in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan unless the paramilitary group it is battling with leaves civilian and public sites.

The statement by Yasser al-Atta, a deputy commander of the army, comes after the army claimed advances in Omdurman, part of the wider capital, and an appeal by the United Nations Security Council for a truce during Ramadan, which begins this week.

The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) said it welcomed the ceasefire call.

Atta’s statement, issued on the army’s official Telegram channel on Sunday and based on comments he made the previous day in Kassala state said there could be no Ramadan ceasefire unless the RSF complied with a commitment made last May at Saudi and U.S.-mediated talks in Jeddah to withdraw from civilian homes and public facilities.

It also said there should be no role for Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the RSF leader commonly known as Hemedti, or his family, in Sudan’s future politics or military.

“There are those who talk about a truce in Ramadan. There is no truce by order of the army and the people,” Atta said in his Kassala speech to army graduates.

War between Sudan’s army and the RSF erupted in mid-April 2023 amid tensions over a plan for transition to civilian rule.

The two factions staged a coup in 2021 that derailed a previous transition following the 2019 overthrow of autocratic former leader Omar al-Bashir.

The army has been on the back foot militarily for much of the conflict, which has devastated swathes of the capital, triggered ethically driven killings in Darfur, and led to the world’s biggest displacement crisis. The RSF seized large parts of the capital in the first days of fighting.

However, the army has recently recovered some ground in Omdurman, which along with Khartoum and Bahri makes up the wider capital divided by the Nile.