Since 15 April, fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces has gripped the country, triggering fears of a humanitarian crisis.
Now, the brief truce will allow agencies a humanitarian corridor, give the citizens a chance to replenish their supplies, including food, water, and medicines, and evacuate to safer zones.
Since the start of the fighting, leaders had called for a ceasefire, a return to dialogue, and the protection of civilian and civilian structures.
According to the Rev. Dr Gibson Ezekiel Lesmore, director of Programmes at the All Africa Conference Churches, the needless bombardment and destruction of a nation with such a rich history has completely devastated African churches.
“We are not ignorant of the fact that human greed drives war in our world today. It is in the quest for power that we are today experiencing bombardment,” he said during an online Africa youth prayer for Sudan on 22 April.
At least 459 people have died and more than 4,000 have been injured in the fighting so far, WHO officials said on Tuesday. The majority of the victims are civilians in the fighting.
The majority of the people in Sudan are suffering and yearning for peace, according to Roman Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin Mula of Juba Archdiocese in South Sudan.
“In order to preserve the unity of the country, and not further the suffering of the people, we call for an end to the fighting and a return to dialogue,” said Mula in a solidarity statement of the bishops in Sudan and South Sudan.
A concern for churches is also emerging following reports that a rocket had struck the Roman Catholic cathedral in the diocese of El Obeid. The blast—which also hit a priest’s house—destroyed the front gate of the cathedral and shattered glass. Armed men also targeted the Anglican Cathedral in Khartoum on 17 April and used guns to break into cars, reported Sudanese Anglican church officials.
With the fighting, western nations have rushed to evacuate their citizens and diplomats. Behind, local populations remained trapped in war, without food, water, and medicines. The situation is now untenable for civilians, Red Cross spokesperson Alyona Synenko told the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Meanwhile, neighbouring countries have started receiving some refugees from Sudan. According to 25 April reports, at least 10,000 of them had crossed into South Sudan, as the fighting spread to bordering regions of South Darfur and Blue Nile. The continued fighting and any mass movement of the refugees will threaten the country’s fragile peace process, humanitarian agencies are warning.
“South Sudan is already facing a severe food emergency…If this conflict in Sudan doesn’t stop soon, and refugees start crossing the border in large numbers, then this will exacerbate an existing humanitarian crisis,” said James Wani, Christian Aid’s South Sudan Country director.