Sudan: West Darfur clashes force nearly 2,000 refugees into Chad (13.04.2021)

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 13, 2021 – Recent intercommunal clashes in El Geneina, in Sudan’s West Darfur State, have forced 1,860 refugees to cross into neighbouring Chad in the past week.

The refugees, mostly women, children and the elderly, have fled homes in villages near the border, in the aftermath of deadly clashes that started on 3 April. The resurging violence has reportedly left 144 people dead and more than 230 injured. In the meantime, humanitarian agencies are trying to establish the exact number of newly displaced people within West Darfur, which is estimated to be in the thousands.

Refugees arriving in Chad speak of houses and properties being destroyed, and of sites hosting displaced people being targeted. Some of the new arrivals had already been displaced by earlier clashes last year and in January this year.

El Geneina is only 20 kilometers away from the Sudan-Chad border. Refugees have crossed near the town of Adré, in Ouaddaï province and are currently being hosted just 200 metres away from the volatile border.

UNHCR teams from our nearby office in Farchana have rushed to receive refugees. Our staff report conditions on the ground being dire with displaced families staying in the open or under the little shade of trees or makeshift shelters, with barely any protection from the elements in an area where temperature can rise to 40 degrees Celsius during the day. Food and water are also urgently needed.

UNHCR, with our government counterpart and humanitarian partners are on the ground and coordinating the humanitarian response. The priority is to relocate the refugees to a safer location where essential assistance and access to health can be provided, and quarantine measures against COVID-19 implemented.

Ouaddai province where the new arrivals are crossing already hosts 145,000 Darfurian refugees and UNHCR expects the influx to continue if security is not quickly restored in Darfur.

Sudan: OHCHR – Press briefing notes on violence in West Darfur (09.04.2021)

We are appalled by the latest resurgence of violence between Masalit and Arab tribes in West Darfur, in Sudan, that left at least 87 people dead, more than 191 injured and forced thousands to flee their homes. We are also disturbed by the slow progress in ensuring accountability for this and previous violence, despite repeated calls by victims and their families.

The latest bout of violence erupted on 3 April in Al Geneina town when unknown assailants shot at a group of men from the Masalit tribe, killing two and injuring one. In response, armed elements from Masalit and Arab tribes mobilized, leading to clashes between them.

By the evening of 5 April, the streets of Al Geneina were strewn with dozens of bodies, including those of women and children. These scenes recalled those seen in West Darfur following previous clashes, in late 2019 and, most recently, in mid-January 2021.

During the violence last weekend, public and private property was destroyed or damaged, including a hospital, and a UN compound. At least one ambulance was attacked and health personnel injured.

Similar to previous situations of violence in Al Geneina, the authorities failed to stop the clashes despite a robust security force presence in the town. We urge the authorities to fully uphold their role to protect the population without discrimination. In this regard, we call on the Government of Sudan to accelerate the implementation of the National Plan for the Protection of Civilians.

All tribes responsible for violence in Darfur must be disarmed and the State must be able to maintain order and ensure the rule of law, including by preventing armed civilians from taking the law into their own hands.

We acknowledge that, after the latest clashes, the authorities have taken steps to contain the situation in the area. We also welcome the Government’s commitment to addressing the root causes of the violence, especially disputes over land, pasture and water resources – disputes that are at the heart of the entrenched tribal divisions. These commitments need to result in concrete actions.

Independent, impartial and thorough investigations into these acts of violence must be initiated without delay. Effective accountability processes must be established to pave the way for genuine reconciliation and lasting peace.

We note that the Sudanese Attorney General has announced that 15 prosecutors have been sent to West Darfur to investigate the recent violence. We also welcome the decision to refer 33 alleged perpetrators for trial over the clashes in January 2021, as well as the establishment of the committee set up to investigate a similar incident in December 2019.

We urge the Government to ensure prompt, transparent and effective follow-up to these investigations. All those responsible for human rights abuses must be held accountable. Grievances from both sides must be tackled after decades-long ethnic disputes stoked by the previous regime.

Our Office in Sudan stands ready to assist the Government of Sudan towards achieving accountably and justice.

Ethiopia-Sudan Tensions: Sudan requests UNISFA to kick-out Ethiopian Peacekeepers from Abyei

Since December 2020 the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF), Amhara Paramilitary Group ‘Fano’ and Eritrean Defence Force (EDF) have all been spotted and attacked border points on Sudanese soil. They have gone after border points in and around Al-Fashqa region. The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) have been reported to retake these and stationed more soldiers there.

Just to prove the levels of insincerity from Addis Ababa towards Khartoum. The Sudanese Authorities even intercepted illegal arms export to the rebel outfit of SPLM-N in Blue Nile State. That is what they have been doing and shows how sinister the Tripartite Alliance in Ethiopia is at this current stage. As well, as doing what they have been doing on the border of Sudan and trying to annex Sudanese land.

Clearly, the Sudanese has taken this seriously and sent their Rapid Support Force (RSF) – Desert Shield Force to the borders .They have sent the ones who has tormented Darfur for ages. These folks are the ones who they trust to stop the Tripartite Alliance on the border. That says a lot about their will to defend their borders.

Now the Sudanese has taken it a further step and escalating it further, which is only natural.

Sudan Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Mahdi stated this yesterday:

““Sudan has requested the United Nations to replace the Ethiopian troops present in the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNIFSA) with peacekeepers from other countries,” Mariam Al-Mahdi added.“It is not conceivable to accept Ethiopian forces deployed in the strategic depth of Sudan while the Ethiopian troops are massing on the eastern borders of Sudan,” she said. The minister said that Sudan is now reviewing its relations and cooperation agreements with Ethiopia but stressed that this will not affect the Ethiopian residing in Sudan including refugees” (Koang Pal Chang – ‘Sudan wants Ethiopian peacekeepers out of Abyei’ 07.04.2021, Eye Radio).

When Addis Ababa have been as insincere and been as violent on the border. When they have used all the various alliances to go and attack Sudan. It is only natural that the sovereign state of Sudan doesn’t trust Ethiopian soldiers on their soil. When they have attacked them, illegally armed rebels and been dishonest about their skirmishes as well.

The Ethiopian authorities is calling the neighbours their brothers, but they are coming with weapons and soldiers. That is why the Sudanese see it as a danger to have the Ethiopians as Peacekeepers. That says how much the Ethiopians has destroyed their credibility or trust. The distrust now is shattered and the Khartoum administration only see it fit to “kick them” out.

What will also happen with the changes of Peacekeepers means that the Ethiopian state will not get the profits or the foreign currency for the UN services in Abyei. That is the second price of this. Not only are they demoted and sent home. The Ethiopian state will also loose funds by this action. That is the double strike against Addis Ababa.

The Sudanese authorities are in the right here. How can someone who attacks you on the regular and makes reasons for you to deploy the RSF and more SAF brigades on the borders. A trusted ally to create peace in one of their states. That doesn’t make sense and is a sensible reason to kick Ethiopia out. Peace.

Sudan: Declaration of Principles between the Transitional Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (28.03.2021)

Sudan: Council of Ministers – Press Statement (26.03.2021)

Ethiopia-Sudan Tensions: The tormentors of Darfur sent to the border region

Since 13th December 2020 the Ethiopian and Sudanese troops have had skirmishes at the border-regions. The Ethiopian army and Amhara Para-Military Group ‘Fano’ have attacked Sudanese territory. This have been amplified and the state are hardening its stances.

Now, the Sudanese are even amping up more. After they have said to retaken border points and their claimed Al-Fashaqa region. This is further extending the warfare from the Law Enforcement Operation in the neighbouring Tigray Region inside Ethiopia. The Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) is stretching their battle-lines and also their manpower in their newest quest.

However, to go against the Sudanese is a risky game. As they will now meet a conning and warlord of Darfur. The Sudanese isn’t just sending new recruits to the borders. No, they are now sending the Janjaweed aka Rapid Support Force (RSF). The state militia co-ordinated and controlled by the Vice President of Sovereign Council Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemiti”.

Hemiti isn’t just anyone. His a ruthless warlord and a someone who has no issues with sending his enemies to their demise. Now, that the RSF is sending its ‘Desert Shield Force’ to the Eastern Borders towards Ethiopia. Expect horrific reports and striking images from the region. The Janjaweed have been a click of murderous mercenaries. These will use all means to settle the score and they will not come with mercy.

This is why the usage of RSF into this operation. Shows that the Sudanese is amplifying their operation in the border region to Ethiopia. There will be more conflict and they will use guerrilla tactics to conquer the Ethiopians from entering.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali should be concerned about this. His ‘Fano and ENDF haven’t met the capabilities of RSF yet. The RSF is another breed than what his used too. The Janjaweed have gone after their own and been a violent force for decades. The ENDF will clearly meet their end here.

That Hemiti and the Al-Burhan is calling them in. Shows their resolute act to defend its border. They are taking it further now. After Ethiopia have breached their borders for months. This is really signalling to the world. That the tension is spiralling out and a full out war between the neighbours.

Its not just a few skirmishes or small brigades going to far on a whim, but deliberate warfare. This is worrying. What is striking that Abiy is willing to have so many conflicts going at one time and not worried about the strain it causes to his troops. He clearly have the idea that his able to overcome any challenge. If not his “Yes-Men” is telling lies to keep his moral high.

This conflict in Sudan is a fools mission. It is now a bloodbath in the waiting. The Janjaweed have been deadly force for years in Darfur. To bring them here is only a sign of future death. There is nothing good coming out of this.

Abiy will indirectly challenge Hemiti, but I don’t think he knows what is coming his way. He should study the Darfur conflict. However, don’t expect him to do so. Because, he will only order the demise of his men on the front. Peace.

Ethiopia-Sudan Tensions: Ethiopia arming the SPLM-N in the Blue Nile State

Sudanese military sources said that the Ethiopian government provided logistical support to Joseph Touka’s forces in Blue Nile, including weapons, ammunition and combat equipment. The sources indicated that the support arrived in the Yabous region on February 27, 2021 AD, and the support was received by Commander Joseph Touka and some of his forces’ commanders” (…) “The sources emphasized that the Ethiopian government aims to use Commander Joseph Touka to occupy the city of Kurmuk with the support of Ethiopian artillery, with the aim of dispersing the efforts of the Sudanese army on the eastern front” (Sudan Plus, 07.03.2021)

Who is Commander Touka? Well, his Commander Joseph Touka Ali, First Deputy Chairman of the SPLM and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army – North. So, his not a nobody and a high ranking commander in the SPLM-N. 

The SPLM-N killed Sudanese soldiers in early January 2021 in Malkan, Blue Nile State. So, these rebels are still active and it is suspicious that the Ethiopian government is supporting and supplying them with arms. That is a deliberate act to destabilize and strengthening one rebel outfit or militia. I am sure the Ethiopian government would be happy, if the Sudanese suddenly begun to give Samri or the TPLF abundantly arms as well. They would be crying out loud and call it interference in their “internal affairs”.

This is a devious act of Addis Ababa to weaken Khartoum leadership in one of their states. Not only have the skirmishes and battles in the Al-Fashaqa region. They want to intervene and use other proxies in the Blue Nile State.

Since December 2020 … the Ethiopian army have entered into Sudan. They have gone together with the Amhara Para-Military Group “Fano” and tried to take control of border posts there. They have later been beaten back and the Sudanese have taken control of the region again. Therefore, they would maybe prefer having battles on various of fronts. This to weaken the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). However, they were able to intercept the ploy, but this is worrying.

The worry is that the Ethiopian counterparts are willing to do this. As the Sudanese was doing the opposite when the conflict in Tigray started in November 2020. At that point, the Sudanese intercepted weapons going for the TPLF. They stopped it and confiscated it. While the Ethiopians are doing the opposite. That says it all of their objectives.

This isn’t a sign of brotherhood, but using optional proxy to weaken an enemy. As the Ethiopian army and Fano has already been attacking the Sudanese … so now they are trying to find other ways too.

The Ethiopian government supporting SPLM-N just says it all. They are not coming in peace, but seeking for more bloodshed. Their motivation is maybe revenge of the humiliation at the border in Al-Fashaqa region. They want to annex more land and the Prime Minister Abiy wants to be biggest warlord on the Horn of Africa, apparently. Peace.

Sudan: Thousands of Ethiopians seek asylum in Sudan’s Blue Nile State (23.02.2021)

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

23 February 2021

Several thousand people fleeing escalating violence in Ethiopia’s Benishangul Gumuz region have sought safety in Sudan’s Blue Nile State over the last month.

Tensions have been high in the Metekel Zone since 2019 with several reports of inter-communal attacks in the region. The situation has rapidly escalated in the past three months. The federal Government of Ethiopia declared a state of emergency in the area on 21 January 2021.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is working closely with Sudanese authorities and partners to assess the situation and respond to the humanitarian needs of the newly arrived, many of whom have arrived in hard-to-reach locations along the border.

Benishangul Gumuz is in western Ethiopia. The current displacement is not directly related to conflict in the country’s northern Tigray region which have pushed more than 61,000 to seek safety in Sudan in recent months.

Out of the 7,000 people estimated to have arrived in Blue Nile State, nearly 3,000 have been registered. This number is expected to increase as the verification exercise continues in all the locations where refugees are being hosted.

In the past weeks, UNHCR and partners have already provided humanitarian assistance to nearly 1,000 refugees in Yabatcher, on Sudan-Ethiopia border. Refugees have received food, access to health, water and sanitation facilities, and aid supplies.

The majority of these asylum-seekers are living among the Sudanese host community who continue to welcome people seeking safety. UNHCR and partners will continue to ramp up the response to support the government in its response.

Ethiopia: Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Press Statement on Ethiopia-Sudan Border (18.02.2021)

Sudan: Conflict – Flash Update #9 West Darfur As of 16 February 2021 (16.02.2021)