Turkey claims Sudan evacuation plane was fired on amid cease-fire extension

The warring sides in Sudan's nearly two-week-old conflict on Thursday agreed to extend their cease-fire three days. Photo by Sudanese Armed Forces/UPI
The warring sides in Sudan's nearly two-week-old conflict on Thursday agreed to extend their cease-fire three days. Photo by Sudanese Armed Forces/UPI | License Photo

April 28 (UPI) -- A paramilitary group in Sudan denied firing upon a Turkish airplane that was attempting to evacuate citizens stuck in the war zone as combat between government forces continued in the capital of Khartoum.

Turkish authorities issued a statement saying a C-130 evacuation plane, took on "light fire" near Wadi Sayidna but managed to land safely.


There were no injuries to the crew, but the episode served to undermine an internationally brokered agreement to extend a truce between the paramilitary group and the Sudanese Armed Forces for 72 hours.

The Rapid Support Forces, one of two factions of Sudan's military battling for control of the country, however, said it did not target the plane.

"The Rapid Support Forces would like to deny the allegations made by the coup leaders of the armed forces, backed by the extremist remnants of the defunct regime, that our forces attacked a Turkish evacuation plane," the group said in a statement posted to Twitter.


"We have played an active role in ensuring the safe evacuation of the Turkish mission from all the cities of the capital over the past days, and it would be unreasonable to attack a Turkish evacuation plane."

The African nation has been embroiled in a fierce conflict since April 15 when fighting erupted between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary rival.

On Monday, the sides agreed to a cease-fire that has been punctuated by random fighting, and both sides agreed Thursday to extend it another three days starting 12:01 a.m. Friday when their original agreement was set to expire.

"We reaffirm our commitment to the terms of the humanitarian truce, considering the circumstances of the Sudanese people and to facilitate the evacuation of diplomatic and foreign nationals," the Rapid Support Forces said in a previous statement.

The Sudanese Armed Forces also issued a statement that confirmed the agreement while calling on the Rapid Support Forces to abide by the truce as the military blames the paramilitary force for cease-fire breaches over the last three days.

The conflict erupted as the African nation has for years teetered on the precipice of war or stability since the military ousted the country's former three-decade dictator government of Omar al-Bashir in a civilian-backed coup in 2019.


As the country crawled toward a democracy Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan of the Sudan Armed Forces and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo executed another coup but infighting over control of the government has turned into bloodshed.

More than 450 people have been killed and foreign nations have rushed to evacuate their diplomats and citizens amid the cease-fire while humanitarian organizations, and the United Nations, attempt to send in aid.

Meanwhile, the 55-member African Union is calling on the international community to "speedily" extend humanitarian support to civilians fleeing the country.

Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat in a statement requested neighboring nations "to facilitate the transit and safety of civilians crossing their borders without impediment."

"The chairperson reiterates his appeal to the Sudan Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces to immediately agree on a permanent cease-fire to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Sudanese in dire need."

On Wednesday, Filippo Grandi, high commissioner for the United Nations office on refugees, said at least 20,000 Sudanese have fled to Chad while others have crossed into Egypt and at least 4,000 South Sudanese refugees have been forced to return home.

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