Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces, the Sudanese paramilitary group presently embattled in a war with the Sudanese Government, has expressed their readiness to sign a ceasefire with the government and “immediately and unconditionally stop hostilities”, after yesterday on January 2nd signing an agreement with Tagaddum, a Sudanese civilian group.
The agreement, called the Addis Ababa Declaration, was signed after the RSF and Taggadum met in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, in order to seek an end to the now 9 month long war in Sudan.
The RSF stated they will sign the ceasefire with the government if they are held to the same procedures the RSF will be held to.
Tagaddum has reached out to the Sudanese government in an attempt to hold similar meetings, and hopefully get them to also sign the Addis Ababa Declaration. While Taggadum has said they are hopeful to hold these meetings, they “are still waiting for a response” from the government.
RSF commander Lt Gen Mohamed ‘Hemedti’ Dagalo also said the RSF intends to release 451 POW’s and other detainees as a gesture of good will.
Under the terms of the agreement, the RSF is to open up safe corridors for humanitarian organizations to deliver desperately needed aid into the areas under their control. Additionally, they are to provide security in these areas through police forces, and work toward restores numerous civil services and production facilities in order to facilitate the return of displaced peoples. A national civilian committee is to be established to monitor procedures and ensure civilians are protected.
Similarly, if the government signs the Addis Ababa Declaration, they will also be subject to these procedures.
The meeting between the RSF and Taggadum took place after a meeting that was supposed to be held between the RSF and the government on December 28th in Djibouti was postponed until January for “technical reasons”.
The Sudan War in Numbers
The calls for a ceasefire in Sudan are growing ever larger as many of the nations civilian population heads for a famine. The countries infrastructure has been decimated and fighting has caused a whopping 5.8 million people to be internally displaced, with yet 1.5 million more becoming refugees in other countries. Accusations of war crimes and civilian massacres have arisen directed at both sides, with Darfur once again becoming a particular hotspot for ethnic-based attacks.
Thus far, approximately 9-10,000 people have been killed with an additional 6-12,000 wounded.
The UN has said that 25 million people, more than half of Sudan’s population, were in need of food aid. The World Food Programme and several other humanitarian groups have said that looting of their supplies is frequent, hampering efforts to delivery aid to those most in need.
UNICEF has stated the amount of Sudanese children out of school has risen from 7 million before the war, to now 19 million.
What Comes Next..?
If both the government and the RSF agree to and sign the Addis Ababa Declaration, then the two will enter an immediate ceasefire followed by final peace negotiations, which will include a civilian group presence. During negotiations, the two sides are to fulfill their obligations to open safe corridors for aid, provide security, and re-establish civil services.
However, this is of course reliant upon the government agreeing upon the declaration, which they have yet to do.