At least 150 were killed April 24 as paramilitary troops attacked a village in Sudan's conflicted Darfur region. Fighters from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), many riding motorbikes or driving vehicles mounted with machine-guns, swept in on the village of Kereinik, torching houses and shops and firing on residents. More than 80,000 families fled their homes to seek refuge at the army headquarters in the village center. Hostilities between the Arab-dominated RSF and Masalit villagers began days earlier, after two Arab herders were reportedly killed by former rebel fighters. The fighting has since spread to the nearby town of Geneina, capital of West Darfur state. Sudan's central government is said to be sending in military reinforcements and warplanes to contain the situation. (NYT, Dabanga, Sudan Tribune, NRC)
Sudan's ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who had been placed under house arrest with last month's military coup, appeared on TV Nov. 21 to sign a new power-sharing agreement with putsch leader Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. But the deal officially restoring Hamdok as prime minister was immediately rejected by the pro-democracy movement in the streets. Just after the announcement, security forces in Khartoum fired tear-gas at protesters marching toward the presidential palace to demand the military's complete withdrawal from politics. "The future of the country will be determined by the young people on the ground," said Siddiq Abu-Fawwaz of the Forces for Freedom & Change coalition.
Sudan's interim prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and several senior government officials were arrested as the military seized full power in a coup d'etat and imposed a state of emergency Oct. 25. The two principal pro-democracy formations, the Forces for Freedom & Change and Sudanese Professionals Association, have called for a popular mobilization to overturn the coup, and thousands have answered the call, filling the streets of Khartoum, Omdurman and other cities. Troops fired on protesters outside the army headquarters in Khartoum, killing at least three and injuring more than 80. The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have also been mobilized to the streets. The military head of the now officially dissolved joint civilian-military Transitional Sovereignty Council, Lt Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, is apparently behind the coup and in control. The putsch follows days of rival demonstrations in Khartoum, with pro-democracy protesters demanding a full civilian government and pro-army counter-demonstrators demanding that the military take complete control. (Radio Dabanga, Middle East Online, NYT, AP, AP)
Sudan is at the brink of a nationwide fuel shortage as Beja ethnic protesters in the country's east have for weeks blocked roads and oil arteries—including the critical pipeline that pumps crude from South Sudan to the Port Sudan terminal on the Red Sea, and a second that brings imported petroleum products from the terminal into the country. The High Council of Beja Nazirs & Independent Chieftains is demanding cancellation of the 2020 Juba Peace Agreement, asserting that the Beja people were excluded from the negotiations. Shortages of fuel and basic goods have sparked large counter-protests against the blockades. (ArgusMedia, DefenceWeb, Dabanga)
A failed coup by army officers allegedly linked to ousted long-ruling strongman Omar al-Bashir last week underscored the fragility of Sudan's transition to civilian rule. Some 20 officers were arrested in the coup attempt. Military leaders from the country's power-sharing government, the Sovereign Council, blamed their civilian counterparts for neglecting public welfare and opening the door to the coup plotters. Civilian cabinet minister Khalid Omer Yousif called the officers' comments "astonishing" and "a direct threat to the transition."
Despite hopes for a ceasefire in Tigray region last month, the Ethiopian conflict is expanding. The Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), the main rebel group in the country's largest region, Oromia, warned on Aug. 14 that it is close to cutting off a major highway to Kenya—a move that could disrupt trade with the largest economy in East Africa. Having announced a pact with the government's arch-adversary, the Tigray People's Liberation Front, the OLA claims it is advancing on the western and southern fronts of Oromia region, and holds parts of the southern Borena zone bordering Kenya. Meanwhile, as the humanitarian crisis deepens and Tigrayan rebels push on into Amhara and Afar regions, there has been a relaunch of diplomatic efforts to halt the fighting. US special envoy Jeffrey Feltman arrived in Ethiopia last weekend, and Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok—rebuffed once by Addis Ababa—said he is still willing to mediate. Sudan, however, has its own dispute with Ethiopia over the contested al-Fashaga border region—an issue Khartoum reiterated is non-negotiable.
Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a decision on July 9, unanimously confirming charges against Sudanese militia leader Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman. Consequently, Abd-Al-Rahman, who is also known as Ali Kushayb, was committed to trial before an ICC trial chamber. Abd-Al-Rahman was a top commander of the Janjaweed militia, and one of the most senior leaders in the tribal hierarchy in Wadi Salih locality, Central Darfur state. He is also a leader of the Popular Defense Forces, the more regularized successor to the Janjaweed. He is alleged to have led pro-government campaigns against Darfur rebel groups, ultimately displacing 40,000 and murdering 300 civilians.
Hundreds of armed militants launched repeated attacks last week on Abu Zar displaced persons camp outside El Geneina, capital of Sudan's West Darfur state. The waves of attacks by presumed Arab militias on mostly Masalit camp residents claimed at least 100 lives and uprooted thousands, some acorss the border into neighboring Chad. Aid groups have suspended their operations, while a state of emergency has been declared across West Darfur. A similar series of attacks on camps around El Geneina in January left over 150 dead. Many accuse militias of stepping up attacks following the December withdrawal of a UN-African Union peacekeeping mission after 13 years on the ground in Darfur region.