More Bahrainis return as Sudan violates truce
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
As the warring parties in Sudan continued to trade blame for breaches of the latest ceasefire, more Bahraini citizens and residents returned to the Kingdom as part of ongoing evacuation efforts.
The evacuees arrived at the Bahrain International Airport aboard a Gulf Air plane. Since April 15, Sudan's capital and other parts of the country have been engulfed in fierce urban warfare involving the regular army, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
According to Ambassador Dr Mohammad Ali Bahzad, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Consular and Administrative Affairs, Bahrain has successfully repatriated 252 citizens and residents so far, in light of the critical security situation in Sudan.
This effort is in line with the directives of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, to ensure the safe return of all Bahraini nationals.
Ambassador Bahzad commended the continuous follow-up by Dr Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the collaborative efforts of various ministries and government entities involved in the evacuation process.
He also expressed gratitude for the supportive roles played by Saudi Arabia and the UAE in ensuring the success of the evacuation operation. Reports have said the one-week truce was violated only minutes after it came into effect on Monday night, with residents of the capital Khartoum reporting air strikes and artillery fire shaking the city.
There have since been further breaches of the ceasefire agreement, which is meant to allow for much-needed humanitarian aid to reach war-ravaged parts of the north African country.
It is the latest in a series of truces that have all been systematically violated. In a statement issued late Wednesday, the RSF, which is led by Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, sought to place the blame for ceasefire breaches on the army led by Sudan's de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
The army "launched a series of unwarranted attacks today", the RSF said, adding that "our forces decisively repelled these assaults". "Our forces successfully shot down a SAF MiG jet fighter," it said, reiterating however that it remained "committed to the humanitarian truce" and called on the "aggressors to respect the ceasefire".
The United States and Saudi Arabia, which brokered the ceasefire, on Wednesday pointed to reports "indicating that both sides violated the agreement" but said "fighting in Khartoum appeared to be less intense".
Conditions have been particularly alarming in the western region of Darfur, already ravaged by a conflict that erupted in 2003 and saw then president Omar al-Bashir unleash the feared Janjaweed militia to crush a rebellion among ethnic minority groups.
The RSF traces its origins to the Janjaweed. The UN’s refugee coordinator in Sudan, Toby Harward, said the town of Zalengei in Central Darfur state “has been under siege by armed militias for the last days”.
Numerous facilities “have been attacked and looted, civilians are unable to seek medical care as healthcare facilities are targeted, and gangs on motorcycles intimidate government workers and restrict civilian movements”, he added.
Representatives of the warring Sudanese generals have since early May been involved in negotiations in the Saudi city of Jeddah on the Red Sea. But analysts have repeatedly warned that the two generals are likely prepared for a prolonged conflict.
Sudan expert Alex de Waal described the conflict as being the result of a “calamitous failure of diplomacy”. Burhan and Daglo had in 2021 staged a coup that unseated a civilian transitional government but later fell out in a bitter power struggle.