In the initial weeks of 2018, the Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir announced the closure of the border with Eritrea which was was followed by the deployment of militia forces to the bordering regions. The reason for the border closing has not officially been made clear and Sudan has denied tension between the two countries. This manoeuvre comes just after the declaration of a six-month state of emergency in the Sudanese regions of Kassala and North Kordofan. The official motivation given for the state of emergency was the Sudanese campaign against the trafficking of human beings, weapons, and drugs and in those border regions.
In this week’s news highlights, Italy is threatening to close its ports to foreign boats carrying stranded migrants and refugees; worrying reports state that hundreds of Yemeni prisoners are detained and abused, including at an AUE base in Eritrea; the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea is extended; an in-depth report looks at how Israel aims to get rid of its Eritrean and Sudanese refugees; and 2.000 leave South Sudan each day to flee violence and hunger.
On Sunday 7 May 2017, a United Arab Emirates (UAE) helicopter reportedly attacked an Afar fishing boat, killing one person instantly while injuring nine others. According to the Eritrean Afar State in Exile (EASE), a second person succumbed to his injuries last weekend, bringing the total death count to two. The eight remaining victims are reportedly being treated at Duhtum Hospital in Assab.