Situation Report: Around 100 students kidnapped in Oromia, Ethiopia; RSF advancing in Sennar State, Sudan; Eritrean asylum seeker killed during clashes in Tel-Aviv

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 8 July)

  • A new front in the war between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allies is emerging at the western border of Gedaref State and the eastern border of Sennar State, as RSF has gained control over large parts of Sennar State. 
  • RSF and SAF fought over control of the city of Dinder, northeast of the Sennar State capital, last week. RSF is currently controlling the city, after it was briefly back under SAF control.
  • Human rights defenders are targeted by both sides of the conflict in Sennar State, warns the Sudanese Bar Association. Offices of lawyers have been raided by the General Intelligence Service (GIS), and several lawyers in the Singa have been detained.
  • RSF states it has gained control over the 92nd Brigade base in the Miram area in West Kordofan state, which is close to the South Sudanese border. The base is close to the disputed Abyei region. RSF now controls a large part of Sudan’s border with South Sudan.
  • Many civilians fled the city of Miram following the RSF attacks.

Situation in Ethiopia (per 8 July)

  • Around 100 students and civilians who were travelling from the Amhara region to Addis Ababa by buses were captured by militants in the Gerbe Guracha area of ​​the North Showa zone of Oromia region, BBC Amhara reports. 
  • Students who managed to escape state that armed persons stopped the buses, forced the students out, and escorted them towards the forest. 
  • Most passengers were from Debarak University, but there were also other passengers, including mothers with children. Ransom is being demanded by the militants for the release of those captured. 
  • Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed stated to the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives that he “expects” the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to finance around USD 10.5 billion for the upcoming fiscal year for the country’s reform programme.
  • The House of People’s Representatives approved the 971.4 billion Birr budget for the financial year of 2024/2025, which is a record high. This amounts to approximately 17 billion USD.
  • Ethiopia’s national dialogue process could lead to a consolidation of Ethiopia’s current leadership, or further entrench the current problems in the country, warns the Heinrich Böll Stiftung in a new report. 
  • The national dialogue process faces a range of issues, from lack of credibility, exclusion, ineffectiveness and continued instability with escalation of the tensions. The core elements for a successful dialogue are challenging to achieve if the government controls the process, states the report. 
  • Chief Commissioner of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission Daniel Bekele announced the end of his five-year term. The Commission will appoint a new Chief Commissioner. 
  • The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission also published its annual report on civil rights, expressing particular concern over the extrajudicial killings and targeting of civilians in conflicts and violence.

Situation in Kenya (per 8 July)

  • A memorial concert was organised in Nairobi on Sunday to remember the victims of the protests against the finance bill. Around 40 people died in total, rights groups say.
  • Kenyan President William Ruto appointed an eight-member task force to audit Kenya’s national debt. The task force will serve for three months.

Situation in South Sudan (per 8 July)

  • South Sudan’s National Election Commission (NEC) announced the election date as 22 December 2024. 

Situation in Somalia (per 8 July)

  • Clashes between rival clans killed at least four people in the Luuq district in southwestern Somalia. The fighting concerned a land dispute.
  • Unidentified people burned down the Luuq district marketplace following the clashes, causing severe damage to the market.

Regional Situation (per 8 July)

  • Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed stated to the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives that the Somali President was “wasting money” travelling around to accuse Ethiopia in the context of the Memorandum of Understanding with Somaliland, instead of coming to Addis Ababa to discuss it directly.
  • Abiy also stated that he did not wish for the disintegration of Somalia, but that Ethiopia’s request for access to the sea was a legitimate issue which needs to be addressed.
  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud responded by stating that Ethiopia never attempted to engage with Somalia in the process. “Somalia is neither the instigator nor opposed to mediation,” he stated.
  • South Sudanese and Ethiopian governors and administrators on each side of the border have agreed to build an alternative infrastructure in order to improve security and trade.

International Situation (per 8 July)

  • One person was killed as pro-regime Eritreans clashed with pro-democracy Eritreans in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Another person was seriously injured. Eight people were arrested.
  • Asylum seekers from Eritrea have expressed fear at the growing threat of pro-regime Eritreans who walk around with weapons such as clubs and spikes, especially in certain neighbourhoods.
  • US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Mike Hammer, will attend the Second Strategic Review on the Implementation of the Pretoria Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in Ethiopia. 
  • Political and civil society groups from Sudan, including the Tagadum coalition, gathered in Egypt this weekend to discuss the conflict. The warring parties were not present. 

Links of interest
The New Gedaref Front
Ethnic detentions continue in Sudan, lawyers targeted by both warring parties
Sudan Paramilitaries Say Seized Key Base Near S.Sudan Border
ገርበ ጉራቻ አካባቢ 100 የሚጠጉ ተማሪዎች በታጣቂዎች ታገቱ
Ethiopia expects USD10.5 billion from IMF, WB
House Approves 971.4 Billion Birr Budget for next Fiscal Fiscal Year – Ethiopian Monitor
Ethiopia’s National Dialogue: Issues and Potential Scenarios
Daniel Bekele on X 
Hundreds gather for memorial concert after deadly Kenya protests
Ruto appoints 8-member team to audit public debt
South Sudan electoral body announces election date
Somalia: Deadly clashes in Luuq as unknown people torch down the town’s market
News: “Don’t waste money” going around countries to accuse Ethiopia: PM Abiy tells Somalia
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on X
Ethiopia, South Sudan agree to build alternate oil pipeline route
One killed, one seriously injured in brawl between rival Eritrean groups in Tel Aviv
Addis Standard on X
Sudanese political and civil society groups meet in a bid to end war

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.