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Sudan ceasefire eases fighting as army denies rumors about deposed dictator Omar al-Bashir's whereabouts

What's next for Sudan after 72-hour ceasefire
What's next for Sudan after 72-hour ceasefire 05:12

The Sudanese Armed Forces, one of two sides engaged in violence that's believed to have left more than 500 people dead across the east African nation in recent days, said Wednesday that the country's former dictator, Omar al-Bashir, was being held in a military-run hospital in the country. The army's announcement came after rumors of an attack on the prison where the deposed dictator was being held, raising questions over his whereabouts and rumors that he could have been freed amid the chaos.

The military said Wednesday that the former autocrat, who has been accused of genocide by the International Criminal Court (ICC), and 30 members of his former government had been moved to a hospital before fighting broke out on April 15 and were being guarded by the judicial police.

The ICC declined to comment on news of al-Bashir's move from the prison, the Reuters news agency said. 

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir ousted by army 02:23

A 72-hour ceasefire that began late Monday continued to hold Wednesday morning, despite sporadic clashes. Residents of Khartoum said the intensity of the fighting had decreased, and they were able to leave their homes to seek food or water, or to attempt to leave the city, the AP reported.

The violence has been devastating for Sudanese civilians, a third of whom required humanitarian aid even before fighting broke out. An official with the U.N.'s World Health Organization in Sudan cited the country's health ministry as saying Tuesday that at least 559 people had been killed, most of them civilians. 

Aid agencies have been forced to suspend some of their operations in Sudan due to the fighting, and the U.N.'s humanitarian agency said Tuesday that it was bracing for as many as 270,000 refugees to arrive in neighboring countries.

Egypt announced that over 10,000 people had crossed over the border from Sudan through two entry points between April 21 and April 25 alone.

Arizona mother on her son's evacuation from war-torn Sudan 05:14

The easing of hostilities has enabled the evacuation of foreign nationals to ramp up. Germany said it finished evacuating its nationals Tuesday, getting around 700 people out of the country. The United Kingdom said it had evacuated around 300 of the 4,000 British citizens believed to be stranded in Sudan.

Late Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy in Sudan issued guidance saying Americans "must decide the safest and best method of departure for yourself and your family. We cannot guarantee your safety in movement."

A red marker shows the location of Port Sudan, about 500 miles northeast of Khartoum on Sudan's Red Sea coast. Google Maps

The American embassy said it would be evacuating citizens who were able to make it to Port Sudan by ship to Saudi Arabia. It said it also believed it would be possible for U.S. citizens to cross land borders into neighboring countries.

"Even though there have been ceasefire agreements, the duration they hold is unpredictable. The security situation throughout Sudan continues to be violent and unpredictable due to ongoing armed conflict, with active fighting in country and uncertain safety conditions. There have been reports of individuals being robbed including of their U.S. passports. We recommend carefully considering routes and the risks of travel, because roads may be crowded, exposed to combat operations, or have deteriorated infrastructure due to damage to bridges, roads, and facilities. The United States government advises that travel is at your own risk."

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