Situation Report – Horn of Africa & News Highlights, No. 526 – 14 March, 2024

Europe External Programme with Africa is a Belgium-based Centre of Expertise with in-depth knowledge, publications, and networks, specialised in issues of peacebuilding, refugee protection, and resilience in the Horn of Africa. EEPA has published extensively on issues related to the movement and/or human trafficking of refugees in the Horn of Africa and on the Central Mediterranean Route. It cooperates with a wide network of universities, research organisations, civil society, and experts from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, and across Africa. The Situation Reports can be found here. To receive the situation report in your e-mail, click here. You can unsubscribe at any moment through the link at the bottom of each e-mail.

Situation in Sudan (per 14 March)

  • Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) regained control over the National Radio and Television Corporation headquarters in Omdurman on Monday. SAF praised their move as a major victory, however, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) minimised these claims, labelling it as insignificant.  
  • RSF gained control over the broadcasting HQ at the start of the conflict in April 2023 and used it for its military operations.
  • The extent of the damage to the premises and the archive, which contains extensive national heritage in various forms of news articles, radio, video, and film recordings, remains unclear. Just over 30% of the archived documentation has been digitised. 
  • About 222,000 children and over 7,000 new mothers are at risk of dying of hunger in the coming months in Sudan, according to Save the Children. Only 5.5% of total funding necessary for the emergency feeding programme is currently available. 
  • An increase in rape cases has been reported across Sudan with 32% of all victims being minors, according to the Sudanese Together Against Rape and Sexual Violence Campaign.
  • The Abu Shouk camp for internally displaced persons was hit during fighting between RSF and SAF in El Fasher, North Darfur, injuring four children and killing four camp residents. 
  • RSF has reportedly imposed taxes on merchants and enforced high service fees for  water and electricity for the residents in Al Jazira state, state the Wad Madani Resistance Committees. 
  • The National Forces Coordination (NFC) coalition, under the leadership of Malik Agar, Sovereign Council Deputy Chairman, aims to finalise a political agreement with the SAF to formalise their mutual intentions to fight against RSF. 

Situation in Ethiopia (per 14 March)

  • Extensive human rights abuses including killings, attacks, detentions, as well as destruction of property and livelihood in Oromia are being reportedly perpetrated by Fano militia and Ethiopian National Defence Forces, states a report by the NGO Oromia Support Group. 
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists urged Ethiopian authorities to release Ethiopian journalist Muhiyadin Mohamed Abdullahi who has been detained since 13 February. He is charged with spreading false news and hate speech. 
  • Muhiyadin has been known for his critical pieces towards political elites on his Facebook page.
  • Christian Tadele, member of the National Movement of Amhara and parliament member, has been stripped of his immunity. Tadele was arrested in August 2023 and accused of “providing logistical and financial support through involvement with the armed group”. 
  • The National Dialogue Commission of Ethiopia cannot convene the meeting that was scheduled for mid-2024 due to tensions in Amhara, Oromia and current situation in Tigray. 

Situation in Tigray (per 14 March)

  • Malnutrition and hunger are the rising causes of child deaths in Tigray with mortality rates being five times higher compared to pre-war period. 

International Situation (per 14 March)

  • The African Union-led strategic meeting reviewing the implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) Agreement took place on Monday in Addis Ababa under the leadership of the AU Commission Chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat.  
  • Parties to the CoH agreement reaffirmed their commitment to implementation of its provisions and agreed  “to consult regularly and to convene in a similar format within the next few months”. 
  • In a joint statement, G7 and the EU recognized that “serious challenges remain to be addressed by the GOE and IRA” but urged the parties to create a conducive environment for implementation.
  • The African Union High-Level Panel for Sudan (HLP) conducted its first mission towards peace and security in Sudan. 
  • The diplomatic mission involved consultations with various Sudanese stakeholders including representatives of RSF, SAF, civil society, media, university representatives, women’s groups as well as delegates from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). 
  • Sixteen entities and individuals involved in a network spanning the Horn of Africa, United Arab Emirates, and Cyprus, were identified as facilitators for al-Shabaab by the US. 
  • Interethnic tension in Ethiopia as well as unresolved issues in Tigray “could lead to a resumption of conflict” while Sudan “could once again become an ideal environment for terrorist and criminal networks”, according to the US annual threat assessment report. 

Refugee and Migration Situation (per 14 March)

  • Food aid for Sudanese refugees in Chad will be suspended next month due to lack of funding, states the World Food Programme (WFP). 
  • “We’ve already cut our operations in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, leaving hungry people close to starvation,” said WFP Chad country coordinator, Pierre Honnorat. 
  • The UK will contribute 1 million British pounds (1.17 million euro) to Libya to prevent refugees and migrants from crossing the Mediterranean sea and entering Europe. 
  • The deal between the UK and Libya was announced after the visit of Michael Tomlinson, UK home office minister, to Tripoli. 
  • “It is a global challenge. And we are getting on with the job. We will do whatever it takes to secure our borders, reform our immigration system, and stop the boats,” said Tomlinson. 
  • Fire broke out in a refugee centre in Berlin on Wednesday. The fire affected one of the tent halls of about  1,000 square metres. 
  • Hundreds of people were evacuated in time and no one was injured. The cause of the fire remains unclear with police investigating possible arson.

Links of interest

Ethiopian journalist Muhiyadin Mohamed Abdullahi faces up to 5 years in prison on false news charges News: Parliament revokes immunity of Christian Tadele seven months after his arrest
በተለያዩ አካባቢዎች የተከሰቱ ግጭቶች አገራዊ የምክክር መድረክ ማስጀመር አለማስቻላቸው ተነገረ
Fano forces respond to Ethiopian government allegations 
Ethiopian Children in Tigray Struggle with Hunger
Ethiopia’s Largely Unreported Hunger Crisis is an Unfolding Catastrophe
Sudan conflict: Army retakes state broadcaster’s headquarters from RSF
New coalition in Sudan eyes political pact with military
Sudan: Nearly 230,000 Children And New Mothers Likely To Die From Hunger Without Critical Action – Save The Children
More rapes recorded in Sudan, ‘authorities should show flexibility with Form 8’
Displaced children injured in North Darfur battles
لجان مقاومة: الدعم السريع تفرض ضرائب ورسوم خدمات بولاية الجزيرة
Ethiopia, TPLF discuss ceasefire implementation
African Union Convenes the First Strategic Reflection Meeting on the Implementation of the Permanent COHA in Ethiopia
G7+EU Joint Statement following the March 11, 2024 Cessation of Hostilities Implementation Strategic Reflection Meeting in Addis Ababa
Press Release: AU High-Level Panel on Sudan Concludes its First Shuttle Diplomacy Mission in the Region
Annual Threat Assessment Of The U.S. Intelligence Community
Designating Transnational Network Supporting al-Shabaab
Food aid for Sudanese refugees in Chad could end next month, WFP says
UK strikes £1M deal with Libya to combat irregular arrivals into Europe
Berlin: Refugee camp at former Tegel airport destroyed by fire

Disclaimer: All information in this Situation Report is presented as a fluid update report, as to the best knowledge and understanding of the authors at the moment of publication. EEPA does not claim that the information is correct but verifies to the best of ability within the circumstances. Publication is weighed on the basis of interest to understand potential impacts of events (or perceptions of these) on the situation. Check all information against updates and other media. EEPA does not take responsibility for the use of the information or impact thereof. All information reported originates from third parties and the content of all reported and linked information remains the sole responsibility of these third parties. Report to any additional information and corrections.