Smoke billows in southern Khartoum, Sudan, on May 29. AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Sudan’s army suspends ceasefire talks with rival paramilitary force, diplomatic source says

Smoke billows in southern Khartoum, Sudan, on May 29. AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Sudan’s army suspended talks with a rival paramilitary force on Wednesday over a ceasefire and aid access, raising fears the six-week-old conflict will push Africa’s third largest country deeper into a humanitarian crisis.

The armed forces said in a statement it halted talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah, accusing the other side of a lack of commitment in implementing any terms of the agreement and a continuous violation of the ceasefire.

The negotiations with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which began in early May, had produced a declaration of commitments to protect civilians and two short-term truce agreements, although those deals were repeatedly violated.

Eyewitnesses reported on Wednesday that the RSF had expanded its footprint within central Khartoum’s Mogran district. They also reported heavy clashes across the Nile in northern Omdurman and northern Bahri through Wednesday evening.

At least 15 people were killed and 30 injured after projectiles fell on a market in a dense southern Khartoum on Wednesday, the local neighborhood resistance committee said in a statement. It said the local Bashair hospital, one of the few still operating in the capital, was overwhelmed.

The war has killed hundreds of people, displaced more than 1.2 million inside Sudan and driven 400,000 others across borders to neighbouring states, the United Nations says.

The army, which relies on air power and artillery, and the RSF, a more lightly armed force that has dominated on the ground in Khartoum, had agreed to extend a week-long ceasefire deal by five days just before its Monday expiry.

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