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Sudanese Rival Groups Agree to Ceasefire After Months of Deadly Conflict

The Sudanese rival groups engaged in deadly fighting since mid-April have agreed to a ceasefire, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African bloc involved in mediating the conflict, announced on Sunday.

IGAD reports that General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) has agreed to a direct meeting with General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The choice was made at a top-level meeting in Djibouti on Saturday, according to a statement issued by Alexis MOhammed, a close advisor to President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, on a popular social media platform.

THe Djiboutian leader, who hosted the summit as the current chairman of the IGAD, spoke by phone with RSF chief Hemedti, who agreed to the ceasefire proposal and a meeting with General BUrhan, Mohammed claimed.

The opposing factions in the Sudanese crisis have agreed to convene within 15 days to discuss confidence-building measures that will facilitate the initiation of a political process.

Fighting between the SAF and RSF, which has been ongoing for nearly eight months, has killed more than 12,000 people, with an estimated 6.6 million fleeing their homes, the UN said last week.

During a span of 28 days, from October 28 to November 21, the lives of 1,300 people were lost, according to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. This devastating situation has led the organization to describe Sudan as the nation with the largest number of displaced individuals and the most severe child displacement crisis globally.

Violence has broken out in Khartoum, the capital city, and has escalated into ethnic clashes, resulting in fatalities in West Darfur.

The UN has repeatedly accused paramilitary forces of killing hundreds of ethnic Masalits and burying some in mass graves in West Darfur. On Thursday, the OCHA reported that the RSF had detained hundreds of people, including 80 children, in Ardamata, a town near the Sudanese army base in West Darfur.

The US reached a determination on Friday that both parties involved in the conflict had engaged in acts constituting war crimes.

The Sudanese government has dismissed all accusations, including claims of ethnic cleansing in the Darfur region. The military has similarly denied any involvement in war crimes.

Both factions have accused each other of killing civilians and violating previous humanitarian ceasefires.

At talks in Djibouti on Saturday, army chief Burhan accused the RSF of "barbaric attacks," but said the army was open to finding a peaceful solution.

The Regional Security Forces (RSF) and the people of Sudan have been forced into conflict by the former regime and its allies within the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), according to a statement made by General Hemedti on Monday.

He added, however, that the RSF accepts the outcomes of the IGAD summit and is willing to cooperate with the regional bloc and the international community to end the conflict and address the root causes of "Sudan's wars and establish a new democratic state."

The Sudanese paramilitary group teamed up with the army to stage a military coup in 2019 that that deposed President Omar al-Bashir, who had ruled for three decades. Both forces are now at odds over a plan to integrate troops as part of the landlocked African country's transition from military to civilian rule.

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