Igad seeks Sudan ceasefire extension as Juba calls for talk

Thursday April 27 2023
Kenyans and Somalis arrive at JKIA from Sudan

Kenyans and Somalis arrive at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi after being evacuated from Sudan's capital, Khartoum on April 24, 2023. Regional bloc Igad is asking Sudan’s warring generals to extend ceasefire to the end of the month PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA | AFP


Regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), is asking Sudan’s warring generals to extend ceasefire to the end of the month as neighbouring South Sudan sent out invites for initial dialogue.

The EastAfrican understands President Salva Kiir of South Sudan on Wednesday invited Sudan’s junta leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his nemesis Mohamed Hamdani Daglo ‘Hemedti’ for initial talks on long-term cessation of hostilities. But a diplomatic source said only al-Burhan had by Thursday morning confirmed readiness to attend.

President Kiir, alongside Kenya’s President William Ruto and Djibouti’s Ismaïl Omar Guelleh had been drafted by Igad last week to lead a regional mission to Khartoum and talk with the warring generals. But partial implementation of ceasefire meant travelling was risky.

As a result, both Ruto and Kiir have, separately, invited the Sudanese generals for peace talks. None of them have publicly responded to the calls and have gone on to accuse each other of violating the ceasefire. Egypt, Israel and Turkey have made gestures to mediate too.

rsf forces

Members of Sudan's Rapid Support Forces on April 23, 2023 ride in the back of a technical vehicle in Khartoum. A US-brokered ceasefire between Sudan's warring generals entered its second day on April 26, 2023, but remained fragile after witnesses reported fresh air strikes. PHOTO | AFP

Extend truce


Meanwhile, the Igad says there should be a truce at least until April 30, giving more time to prevail upon the parties to agree to dialogue and cease violence.

A dispatch from Igad on Thursday said President Kiir, the definitive leader of the mediation mission “shared a comprehensive update on his efforts on his engagement with General Al-Burhan of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and General Mohamed Dagalo of Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of the Republic of Sudan”.

“I appreciated and commended President Kiir’s consistent engagement and support to Igad mediation efforts and I am confident that with the Assembly’s and international community’s continued efforts and dedication will help stop the fighting and de-escalate the situation,” said Igad Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu, without giving detail.

sudan evacuation

A convoy leaving Khartoum advances on a road towards Port Sudan, on April 23, 2023. PHOTO | ABUBAKARR JALLOH | AFP

72-hour ceasefire

On Tuesday, the two factions of the security forces agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire brokered by the US and Saudi Arabia’s back channels.

The ceasefire ends on Thursday night although sporadic fighting was still reported even during the truce phase.

Igad’s assembly of heads of state and government had on April 16 held an extraordinary emergency session calling for the need for “immediate cessation of hostilities, de-escalation and return to the negotiating table, and to allow the high-level Igad peace-mission to take place without any further delay.”