Sudanese Armed Forces head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan announced a 'unilateral' ceasefire ahead of Eid al-Adha

Members of the military and security apparatus are seen among Muslim worshippers at the end of the Eid al-Adha prayer in Sudan's eastern Gedaref region on 28 June 2023 (AFP)

Published date: 28 June 2023 11:10 BST | Last update: 1 hour 2 min ago

The Sudanese army chief has called for the mass mobilisation of young men to support his forces ahead of an announced ceasefire to mark Eid al-Adha.

In a speech late on Tuesday, Sudanese Armed Forces head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan asked for support in opposing the rival Rapid Support Forces (RSF), with whom he has been fighting since April 2023.

"We ask all of the country's youth and all those who can defend not to hesitate or delay in playing this national role in their place of residence or by joining the armed forces," he said.

He also announced a "unilateral" ceasefire, coinciding with the one also announced by the RSF.

Past declared ceasefires have been largely ineffective, including several brokered by Saudi Arabia and the United States at talks in Jeddah, which were suspended last week.

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According to estimates from the International Organisation for Migration published on Tuesday, almost 2.8 million people have so far been displaced by the conflict.

More than 2.15 million have been internally displaced and nearly 650,000 have been forced to flee into neighbouring countries.

Burhan, who originally seized power in Sudan in July 2021 along with the RSF, denounced the latter for "war crimes and crimes against humanity" in the capital city Khartoum.

RSF chief Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemeti, said on Monday that his organisation would establish a special committee to investigate alleged violations by his forces.

In Sudan’s el-Geneina, the dead are left lying in the streets

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In the audio message, he said any abuses would be treated "with severity and seriousness".

The RSF is made up of fighters that formed the backbone of the Janjaweed, a fearsome collection of Arab militias backed by former president Omar al-Bashir's government and which operated in western Sudan and eastern Chad.

Killings in West Darfur have been widespread, with markets and homes looted and women and girls targeted with sexual violence, while the regional governor was slain in captivity, in what a US-backed war monitor, Sudan Observatory, described as an "extrajudicial killing".

An aid worker in West Darfur's capital el-Geneina told Middle East Eye that around 1,500 people have been killed in the town since the war broke out on 15 April. At least 1,000 of those, he said, were women and children.

"So far, we have collected around 700 dead bodies, and double this number are still on streets and inside some houses, but we can't reach them because of the intensive firing by the militias," the aid worker said.

"We have seen the corpses decomposing and can smell them rotting. The bodies are scattered randomly everywhere. Unless this situation is sorted soon, this will cause widespread health issues, diseases and more deaths."

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