Fire and explosions continued to rock Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, on Tuesday night despite calls for a ceasefire, a fourth day of fighting between the army and paramilitaries that has left nearly 200 dead.

Mediated by South Sudan, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitaries of General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, or “Hameti”, and the armed forces under General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who rules Sudan after a 2021 coup, pledged to observe a 24-hour ceasefire, to remove civilians from the most dangerous areas.

But at the agreed time (at 19:00 Greek time), explosions, columns of smoke, the smell of burning gunpowder and bursts of weapons were still there. “There is no sign of appeasement in Khartoum and other areas,” the UN said in the evening.

Army and DTY rushed to accuse each other of the “ceasefire violation”.

Military jets were flying over Khartoum and hit four hospitals, doctors said. Across the country – one of the poorest in the world, where the health system has been on its knees for decades – “16 hospitals have now been put out of business”.

While the fighting is centered in the capital Khartoum and the state of Darfur (west), the Red Cross and the World Health Organization (WHO) are desperately calling on the opposing sides to guarantee access to the health system for all who need it.

The head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, denounced the “looting of health facilities” and the “use of others for military purposes”.

In a country where one in three people are hungry, aid workers and diplomats say they are no longer able to work. Three World Food Program (WFP) workers have been killed in Darfur.

Residents excluded

Calls by the G7, the UN, the US and others to end the conflict have fallen on deaf ears: men in camouflage uniforms, some with turbans like those worn by nomads in Darfur, continue to spread terror in Khartoum, while army airstrikes take place in densely populated areas.

Many residents have been locked in their homes, without electricity or running water, and are seeing their food stocks, if any, evaporate after the political conflict between the two generals dragged on and turned into war on Saturday.

Politicians and diplomats pressured them to agree on the timetable and terms for the DTY’s integration into the regular army and the resumption of the country’s transition to democracy. There was no agreement; the generals drew their weapons.

On the fourth day of the fighting, in the few grocery stores that remained open, the shopkeepers admitted that they would not be able to last much longer, due to lack of supplies. Residents begin to flee to the countryside, to the south, where there is no fighting.

Beneath a sky billowing plumes of thick black smoke from army and paramilitary headquarters, others searched for food, or a generator.

In Khartoum, “it’s been four days that we haven’t slept,” said Dalia, 37.

The most recent death toll, provided by the UN, put the death toll at 185 across the country. Many non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies have announced that they have suspended all activities, unable to provide assistance.

On Monday, a US diplomatic convoy came under fire and the European Union ambassador was “attacked inside his residence” in Khartoum. Sudanese diplomacy – loyal to General Burhan – blamed the DTY.

In hospitals, despair

The UN said 1,800 were injured, but there are certainly many more, as access to war zones is difficult or impossible for patients and doctors.

In Darfur, a stronghold of General Daglo and his thousands of men, who committed unspeakable atrocities in the 2003 war in the state, the organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported that in three days it brought in 183 wounded, “among them many children,” at her last hospital still in operation.

It is impossible to assess who controls what. The opposing sides engage in a war of contradictory statements, they say that they have in their hands the airport, the presidential palace, the headquarters of the general staff…

The army denounces a “coup” by “foreign-backed rebels”, “Khameti” speaks of a struggle for “freedom, justice and democracy”.

It is using the slogan of the 2019 “revolution”, heard as recently as the pro-democracy protests, which wants the country to end the military juntas that have held power for most of its modern history since independence in 1956. .

For the Egyptian political scientist Amr Sobaki, “the current situation is the result of mistakes by the regime of (Omar el) Bashir and the transition period in which, after the fall of Bashir (in 2019), there was to be a unification of the armed forces.”

“The citizens wanted to demolish the ancien regime (the old regime), but what was demolished were the political forces and the army,” he judges.

Egypt, Sudan’s influential neighbor, is multiplying contacts in the region seeking “a return to the negotiating table.”