The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, on Tuesday called for an immediate end to the hostilities in Sudan and pleaded for the opposing sides in the military power struggle to return to the negotiating table, as reports emerged of a proposed 24-hour pause in the fighting, due to start at 1800 local time.
“Sudan has already endured so much pain and suffering. The fighting is born out of power games and personal interests that only serve to alienate the democratic aspirations of the population,” said Mr. Türk, adding, “Do those responsible not understand that the civilian population now only craves a peaceful life?”
According to latest news reports, fighting continued in parts of the capital Khartoum, despite the planned 24-hour truce.
The Sudanese army and a rival paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been locked in intense fighting for four days.
The unrest erupted as Sudan appeared to be returning to the path towards democratic transition following three decades of military rule.
International media reported that the sides have agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire, which is set to begin at 6pm, local time.
In the interim, 270 people have been killed and and 2,700 have been injured, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), citing the authorities.
Among those killed were three staff members with the World Food Programme (WFP) working in North Darfur, prompting a temporary suspension of activities across the county. UN agencies in Sudan have also halted most of their operations.
Most of the fighting has occurred in the capital, Khartoum, where crossfire at the airport also reportedly damaged a UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) plane which could seriously affect access to remote areas, where needs are highest.
Nearly one third of the Sudanese population, almost 16 million people, were in need of aid at the start of this year.
“Thousands upon thousands of civilians are trapped in their homes, shielding from the fighting, with no electricity, unable to venture out and worried about running out of food, drinking water and medicine,” Mr. Türk said.