By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Already on Tuesday evening, an immense fire had engulfed the intelligence service’s headquarters in the capital Khartoum with each side accusing the other of attacking it in violation of the 72-hour truce mediated by the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Mediators had repeated a warning that if the ceasefire, which ended at dawn Wednesday, were not respected they would consider adjourning talks between the warring sides in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The International Committee of the Red Cross had earlier said the “ceasefire was not respected”, and cited gunshots that forced the agency to abort a transfer of wounded soldiers.
Fighting began on April 15 between the regular army, led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) headed by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo. Numerous ceasefires have been announced only to be violated, despite commitments by the two sides to provide for secure aid access.
The latest truce, which coincided with an international donors’ conference in Geneva on Monday, did, however, bring a brief respite to the millions of civilians trapped by fighting in the capital and suffering shortages of medical care, electricity, water and other essentials.
But an exodus of refugees – and wounded – continued from the war’s other main battleground, Darfur.
On Wednesday morning, residents of Omdurman, just across the Nile from Khartoum, reported heavy artillery exchanges within minutes of the ceasefire expiring at 6:00 am (0400 GMT).
Army warplanes flew low over several adjacent districts, the residents said.
Nationwide, more than 2,000 people have been killed since battles began, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project said.
More than 2.5 million people have fled their homes, of whom around 600,000 have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, according to latest figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The United States State Department said up to 1,100 people have been killed in the West Darfur state capital El Geneina alone.
More than 155,000 people have fled Darfur into Chad since the start of fighting, according to IOM.
The region is still reeling from a 2003 rebellion among non-Arab minorities that prompted then-strongman Omar al-Bashir to recruit the Arab Janjaweed militia, whose actions led to charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Monday’s donors’ conference raised close to $1.5 billion in aid pledges for Sudan and neighbouring countries, but that amounted to less than half of the estimated needs.
A record 25 million people – more than half Sudan’s population – are in need of aid and protection, the United Nations says.