SHINA J O
Rival factions of Sudan’s military have agreed to renew a three-day ceasefire, shortly before it was due to expire.
The extension – for another 72 hours – follows intensive diplomatic efforts by neighbouring countries, as well as the US, UK, and UN.
But there are continuing reports of heavy fighting in the capital Khartoum.
The previous truce allowed thousands of people to attempt to flee to safety, while dozens of countries have tried to evacuate their citizens.
The ceasefire had been expected to end at midnight local time (22:00 GMT).
Early on Thursday evening, the Sudanese regular army agreed to an extension, and its rival the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) followed suit hours later.
South Sudan has offered to host peace talks, and the army has agreed to send representatives to the talks.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was “very actively working” to extend the truce, adding that while imperfect, it had reduced violence.
But White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre later said the situation could worsen at any moment.
Meanwhile, the RSF and eyewitnesses said the army had been pounding its positions in Khartoum.
The foreign minister in the civilian government, Maryam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, told Newsmen from her home in Khartoum that despite the ceasefire, civilians were still living in fear.
Fighting has also been reported in the western Darfur region and other provinces.
At least 512 people have been killed in the fighting and almost 4,200 injured, although the real number of deaths could be much higher.
The World Health Organization said it expected there to be “many more” deaths due to outbreaks of disease and a lack of services.
Health officials say most hospitals in conflict areas are not functioning, and more than 60% of health facilities in Khartoum are inactive.