Situation Report: One year anniversary of the Sudan conflict; Court hearing against Eritrean human trafficker in the Netherlands; 46 Tigrayans held prisoner by Eritrea released

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 15 April)

  • Today marks a year since the start of the conflict in Sudan.
  • Experts warn that the longer the conflict continues, the more the splintering of groups will make it difficult to achieve a sustainable peace. 
  • Critics state that the international peace efforts on Sudan lack coherence and urgency.
  • At least 15,550 recorded deaths have occurred since the fighting broke out on 15 April 2023, reports ACLED. 32% of civilian fatalities has been recorded in Darfur. Most of the recorded violence and casualties were recorded in Khartoum.
  • France and Germany are hosting a humanitarian conference today in Paris, to raise humanitarian funding for victims of the conflict. Ahead of the conference, humanitarian organisations warn that the efforts in Sudan for 2024 are severely underfunded. 
  • A closed-door ministerial meeting in Paris also brings leaders from Sudan’s neighbours together with other countries and international organisations to discuss the conflict.
  • A coalition of NGOs urges the European Union and its foreign ministers to take “strategic and concrete steps to respond to the massive cost on civilians of the dramatic human rights and humanitarian crisis” in Sudan ahead of the EU’s foreign affairs meeting on 22 April.
  • The NGOs ask the EU and ministers to use all instruments available to ensure an end to attacks on civilians and end the deliberate obstruction of aid, as well as increase emergency humanitarian funding.
  • The Joint Force of Armed Struggle Movements (JSAMF), which is a coalition of various armed groups in Darfur, has renounced neutrality and declared war on the RSF. The JSAMF announced they will launch an  offensive, as RSF continues to attack, insult and block humanitarian aid.

Situation in Ethiopia (per 15 April)

  • Three people were killed in a shootout near Millenium Hall in Addis Ababa on Friday. Police stated that three members of the Fano militia were on their way to commit a terrorist attack. The shootout started as the police tried to apprehend the trio. 
  • Two of those killed were alleged Fano militia, and the third victim was a bystander. The third alleged Fano member was arrested. Two police officers were injured.
  • Fano militia is controlling virtually the entire rural area of Amhara, sources state. The cities are controlled by Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF), but Fano militia make incursions at night. After some losses,  ENDF retributes civilians by killing young men accused of supporting Fano.
  • Amnesty International calls for an independent investigation of the killings in Merawi on 29 January.

Situation in Tigray (per 15 April)

  • Eritrea released 46 Tigrayans on Friday who had been held prisoner for two months up to a year. The majority of them were abducted in the Tahtay Adiyabo district in the North Western Zone of Tigray.
  • The prisoners were held in Barentu prison in Gash-Barka.
  • There are still some skirmishes between Tigray and Amhara forces in Western Tigray, but the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) prevent major escalation, sources state.

Situation in Eritrea (per 15 April)

  • A statement by the Ministry of Information of Eritrea states that the Ethiopia-Eritrea border has been clearly defined under the Algiers Agreement, and that Eritrea does “not want what is not ours and we do not give what is ours.”

Situation in South Sudan (per 15 April)

  • UN OCHA is concerned about the rise of incidents affecting humanitarian access in South Sudan. Over 40 incidents took place in March, a 13% increase from February. Fifteen incidents involved violence against humanitarian staff.
  • At least eight people were killed in Wau County in Western Bahr el Ghazal State as Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) and cattle keepers clashed, according to the commissioner of the country. SPLA-IO denies involvement. 
  • Two days after a peace conference in Jonglei region, two people were killed and two children abducted.
  • The Chairperson of the National Election Commission in South Sudan requested the assistance of the African Union to build capacity for electoral officials to enable them to conduct elections in December 2024. Parties have raised concerns about inequality in election fund distribution.

Regional Situation (per 15 April)

  • Kenya proposed a maritime treaty to diffuse tensions between Somalia and Ethiopia over Ethiopia’s MoU with Somaliland. The treaty, proposed in consultation with Djibouti and IGAD, would govern the ability of landlocked countries to access ports on commercial terms. 

International Situation (per 15 April)

  • The Dutch public prosecutor announced that it will start its case against Eritrean human trafficker ‘Kidane’ (Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam). He is accused of committing migration crimes against refugees in Libya. 
  • Kidane is accused of being a member of a criminal organisation which organised smuggling, kidnapping, extortion and violence, among which sexual violence.
  • Kidane is currently being tried for whitewashing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but the Netherlands has asked for his extradition to hold his trial alongside the already ongoing trial of Walid, who is accused of being part of the same criminal network.
  • The Dutch prosecutor has announced that the case will continue, if necessary in absentia, if the extradition does not happen soon. The first pro-forma hearing is scheduled for 16 April at 11:00 CEST.
  • The US Secretary of Homeland Security has extended the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of Ethiopia by 18 months, due to the ongoing conflicts. This means that eligible Ethiopians in the US can file for TPS and employment authorisation.
  • A high-level pledging event on Ethiopia will take place tomorrow, 16 April, in Geneva. It is co-hosted by the UN, Ethiopia and the UK.   

Links of interest

Sudan: A Year of War
Sudan, la guerra compie un anno, nessuno spiraglio di pace: sul terreno morte, fame e macerie
Sudan on its knees after one year after of brutal civil war
One Year of War in Sudan
Joint NGO letter: The EU must urgently act at one year of conflict in Sudan
Darfur Joint Force declares war on Rapid Support Forces
Three killed in Ethiopia shootout as regional rebellions spill into the capital
Ethiopia: Merawi Killings Should Be Independently Investigated
News: Eritrea frees 46 Tigrayan detainees, some held for over a year
ንልክዕ መረዳእታ
8 killed in Wau county as suspected SPLA-IO and pastoralists clash
African Union urged to train South Sudan election officials
Kenya proposes maritime treaty to defuse Ethiopia-Somalia tensions
OM klaagt Eritreeër aan wegens geweld tegen migranten
Secretary Mayorkas Announces Extension and Redesignation of Ethiopia for Temporary Protected Status
Today’s top news: Occupied Palestinian Territory, Haiti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, South Sudan

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.