Clashes heard in Sudan amid ceasefire

STORY: Clashes between rival military factions could be heard overnights in parts of Sudan's capital, residents said on Wednesday (May 24).

And that's despite a week-long ceasefire designed to allow for the delivery of aid and lay the ground for a more lasting truce.

"Civilians must be spared, and you must stop this senseless violence now.”

In Geneva, the U.N.'s High Comissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, described the situation as "heartbreaking".

"In spite of successive ceasefires, and they keep making these arrangements, we see that they get observed in their preach almost within hours after these arrangements are signed. We see how civilians continue to be exposed to serious risk of death and injury. I mean, overnight we received reports of fighter jets across Khartoum and clashes in some areas of the city, as well as gunfire heard in Khartoum-North and in Omdurman.”

Turk also said he was deeply troubled by reports of sexual violence in Khartoum and Darfur.

He called on army chief General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, to issue clear instructions to those under their command that there is zero tolerance for sexual violence, and that perpetrators of all violations would be held accountable.

The ceasefire deal, following Saudi and U.S.-mediated talks, comes after five weeks of intense warfare.

Previous truces have failed to stop the fighting - which has sent more than a million people fleeing their homes and plunged the country deep into a humanitarian crisis.