June 17, 2024

Ceasefire Allows Aid Delivery as Sudan’s Generals Halt Clashes

Protestors clash with police in Khartoum, Sudan during a protest against the October military takeover of the transitional government, November 17, 2021 © 2021 AP Photo/Marwan Ali
Protestors clash with police in Khartoum, Sudan during a protest against the October military takeover of the transitional government, November 17, 2021 © 2021 AP Photo/Marwan Ali

A 72-hour ceasefire went into effect on Sunday in Sudan, aiming to facilitate the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid to the war-torn country. The truce comes just before an international donors’ conference for Sudan, hosted by the United Nations in Geneva.

The conflict, which started on April 15, involves the Sudanese army led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and paramilitary forces commanded by his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo. The power struggle between the two factions has resulted in numerous broken truces, causing the death of over 2,000 people and displacing more than two million individuals, with around 528,000 seeking refuge abroad.

The ceasefire officially began at 6:00 am (0400 GMT), with both sides agreeing to refrain from attacks and allowing freedom of movement and aid delivery. The Saudi foreign ministry, along with the United States, announced the agreement reached between representatives of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Witnesses in Khartoum report a relatively calm situation, but some residents are calling for a complete ceasefire, expressing concerns about RSF forces still occupying homes during the truce.

However, even as Sudan grapples with the ceasefire, distressing revelations emerge regarding an escalating crisis that directly impacts South Sudan’s oil resources. The RSF, having gained significant control, including over the capital city of Khartoum, has issued a three-week ultimatum to the South Sudanese government. The ultimatum demands that South Sudan cease providing funds to the SAF or face a complete shutdown of its oil production, which has been crucial for the young nation’s economy since gaining independence in 2011.

South Sudan produces approximately 170,000 barrels of oil daily, with the oil passing through Sudan to reach Port Sudan for export. Sudan receives about 10,000 barrels per day as transportation fees, amounting to roughly $18 million dollars per month. The RSF’s control over essential oil infrastructure, such as pipelines and pumping stations, gives them significant leverage in the dispute.

South Sudan now faces a critical dilemma. Compliance with the RSF’s demand to stop funding the SAF could lead to retaliation, potentially preventing the export of South Sudan’s oil through Port Sudan and choking off its economic lifeline. Conversely, continuing to provide funds to the SAF risks the RSF shutting down the pumping station at Heglig, disrupting the flow of oil to Port Sudan.

The situation is further complicated by the Sudanese army’s control over Port Sudan, the primary export hub for South Sudan’s oil. If this critical facility is lost, South Sudan’s oil production would grind to a halt, triggering a multifaceted crisis with far-reaching implications. The disruption in oil production could exacerbate the already fragile security situation, potentially leading to further conflict and instability within the country. Additionally, the economic fallout would severely impact the government’s ability to provide essential services to its people.

These revelations highlight the gravity of the situation, with the potential for the war in Sudan to escalate into a regional conflict involving other actors. South Sudan may be forced to seek protection for its pipelines and oil infrastructure in Sudan. Urgent diplomatic efforts and international intervention are crucial to preventing an impending disaster. South Sudan’s government must navigate a precarious path to safeguard its economic interests and ensure stability within its borders.

As the crisis unfolds, Today News Africa will closely monitor the situation and provide updates, shedding light on the challenges faced by South Sudan and the potential consequences for the wider region.

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