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Naba Mohiedeen

Khartoum, Sudan
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About Naba
Naba Mohiedeen is a journalist based in Khartoum, Sudan.
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More Refugees From Ethiopia Stream Into Sudan

28 Jul 2021  |  voanews.com
The article reports on the recent influx of Ethiopian refugees into Sudan due to the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region spreading to the Amhara region. Sudanese authorities have registered over a thousand new asylum seekers, with Alfatih Mogadam, head of the Al-Qadarif Emergency Committee, calling for government and aid intervention due to the camps' struggle to accommodate the new arrivals. The conflict between the Ethiopian federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front has created a humanitarian crisis, with millions in need of food aid. Analyst Ahmed Abdelghani expresses concerns over potential tensions between Amharan and Tigrayan refugees. The situation also exacerbates the strained relations between Sudan and Ethiopia, partly due to disputes over the GERD dam on the Nile River.

Egypt, Sudan Seek UN Help to Resolve Mega Dam Dispute with Ethiopia

09 Jul 2021  |  voanews.com
Egypt and Sudan have called on the U.N. Security Council to intervene in their dispute with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Sudan's Foreign Minister Mariam al-Mahdi expressed the need for a peaceful resolution and a legally binding agreement on the dam's operation. Ethiopia, which has begun the second phase of filling the dam, argues that the dam is a crucial hydropower project for its development and that the African Union should mediate the dispute. After a decade of negotiations, no agreement has been reached, and while the U.S. and Russia have suggested support for African Union-led negotiations, Egypt and Sudan are pushing for a U.N. Security Council resolution to halt the dam's filling and mandate negotiations.

Sudanese Protest Lifting of Fuel Subsidies

10 Jun 2021  |  voaafrica.com
Protests erupted in Khartoum, Sudan, following the government's decision to lift all subsidies on gasoline and diesel, leading to significant fuel price increases. Finance Minister Jibril Ibrahim announced that fuel prices would now reflect import costs, taxes, and profit margins, resulting in gasoline prices doubling and diesel prices more than doubling. The move is part of Sudan's financial reforms under the International Monetary Fund's oversight, aimed at revitalizing the economy and attracting foreign investment. However, citizens like freelance reporter Amira Saleh and electronic technician Amu Adil expressed concerns over the impact on living costs and the burden on ordinary Sudanese. Student Hajir al-Sir al-Awad criticized the timing of the subsidy removal given the country's economic challenges. The government will maintain subsidies on cooking gas, furnace oil, and wheat, despite frequent shortages.

Protesters Demand Justice on Second Anniversary of Deadly Crackdown

07 Jun 2021  |  voaafrica.com
On the second anniversary of the Sudanese military's crackdown on pro-democracy protests, civilians rallied in Khartoum demanding justice for the victims. The crackdown, which occurred after the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir, resulted in at least 120 deaths. Civilians expressed dissatisfaction with the transitional government's actions, or lack thereof, regarding compensation and justice. Waleed Ihab and Zainab Abdeen, who were directly affected by the violence, voiced their grievances and the possibility of seeking international intervention. Nabil Adeeb, leading an investigative panel, cited a lack of resources as a hindrance to the investigation's progress. Freedom House, a Washington-based think tank, expressed solidarity with the victims and urged for a prompt investigation conclusion. The military's non-cooperation was highlighted as a significant obstacle to justice, with General Abdel-Fattah Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo being named responsible for the security sector during the attack.

More Than 20% in Sudan Face Acute Hunger, WFP Says

05 Jun 2021  |  voaafrica.com
The article reports on the acute hunger crisis in Sudan, where 21% of the population is facing acute hunger and will require emergency assistance. Contributing factors include hyperinflation, floods, locust infestations, and COVID-19 restrictions leading to job losses. A survey by the Sudanese government, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Food Program indicates that 9.8 million people are unable to feed themselves. The WFP plans to provide food assistance to 9.3 million vulnerable people but faces a funding shortfall of $48 million. Marianne Ward, WFP’s deputy country director operations in Sudan, highlights the expansion of school feeding programs and nutrition centers, even in the capital, Khartoum, due to the severity of the crisis. The cost of hunger to Sudan's economy is estimated at $2 billion annually.

Sudan Rally Shows Lingering Anger Over 2019 Massacre

05 Jun 2021  |  voanews.com
In Sudan's capital, thousands of protesters demanded justice for a 2019 massacre in Khartoum where over 100 people were killed by the Rapid Support Forces during a sit-in. The government, led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, has been criticized for the slow investigation into the incident. Hamdok cited a complex relationship with security agencies as a reason for the delay. Political analysts Shawgi Abdulazeem and Abbas Mohamed commented on the increasing tensions and the potential impact on Sudan's democratic transition. The Rapid Support Forces, which emerged during the Darfur war and have been involved in other regional conflicts, reached a power-sharing agreement after the ousting of Omar al-Bashir in 2019. Human Rights Watch has accused the forces of abuses, and the U.S. has urged Sudan to consolidate armed entities under a civilian-led government. The Sudanese public prosecutor resigned recently, and the prime minister has requested a deadline for the investigation's findings, with protesters threatening to escalate their actions if delayed.

Millions of Asia Refugees Missing Out on COVID-19 Vaccines, UN Says

02 Jun 2021  |  voanews.com
The article discusses the critical shortage of COVID-19 vaccines in the Asia-Pacific region, which is endangering the lives of refugees and asylum seekers. Despite countries pledging to include these groups in vaccination programs, the scarcity of vaccines means they are often the last to receive them. The World Health Organization has reported a significant increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the region. The UNHCR highlights the vulnerability of refugees in crowded camps, such as the Rohingya in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. The article also mentions the strain on health systems and the need for more vaccines, with the UNHCR calling for equitable vaccine access through donations to COVAX from wealthier nations.

ICC Prosecutor Urges Sudan to Hand Over Darfur Suspects

30 May 2021  |  voanews.com
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is in Sudan's Darfur region to urge the transitional government to surrender suspects wanted for war crimes and genocide. Among the wanted is former President Omar al-Bashir, who is already imprisoned in Khartoum. The Darfur conflict began in 2003 with an insurgency by ethnic central and sub-Saharan African communities, leading to a brutal government response. The ICC has charged al-Bashir and others with war crimes and genocide. Sudanese prosecutors have also begun their own investigation into the conflict. The transitional government has indicated that suspects, including al-Bashir, may be tried before the ICC, but the trial location is subject to negotiation.

2 Killed as Sudanese Protesters Mark 2nd Anniversary of Raid

12 May 2021  |  voaafrica.com
On the two-year anniversary of the protest that initiated the Sudanese revolution, two protesters were killed and 16 others injured by the Sudanese army in Khartoum. The Sudanese Professionals Association criticized the attack, and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has called for an investigation. The Sudanese Medical Doctors Association confirmed the casualties, with Dr. Waliddeen Al Fekki reporting that some of the wounded are in critical condition. Members of the Abu Adam resistance committee and the Umma National Party expressed concerns about the fragile state of the civilian-military partnership in the government and the need for a justice commission. An emergency meeting led by Hamdok resulted in a call for justice for the victims. This incident recalls a 2019 raid by security forces that resulted in numerous deaths, for which no one has been held accountable.

Families Seek Justice for Victims of June 2019 Crackdown in Khartoum

12 May 2021  |  voanews.com
Sudanese authorities are investigating top military officials, including General Abdelfatah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, for their roles in the June 2019 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters that resulted in over 120 deaths. A special committee, led by Nabeel Adeeb, has gathered testimony from 3,000 witnesses. Despite the ongoing investigations, there is skepticism among rights defenders and victims' relatives about the likelihood of the generals facing justice. The Families of the December Revolution Victims have sought the International Criminal Court's involvement, citing the local justice system's inadequacies. A recent attempt by victims' families to gather in protest was thwarted by the military's use of barricades and heavy vehicles.

US Senators Express Support for Sudan's Transitional Government

06 May 2021  |  voanews.com
U.S. Senators Christopher Coons and Chris Van Hollen visited Sudan to express support for its transitional government's move toward democracy and efforts to secure debt relief. They met with key Sudanese officials, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, discussing issues such as the border dispute with Ethiopia and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The senators praised Sudan's economic reforms and emphasized the importance of resolving regional disputes peacefully. Their visit comes ahead of a Paris conference on investment in Sudan and precedes the visit of Jeffrey Feltman, the U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa, who will address political, security, and humanitarian issues in the region.

South Sudan Students, Teachers Back in School After 14-month Lockdown

04 May 2021  |  voaafrica.com
Schools in South Sudan have reopened after being closed for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hussain Abdelbagi, head of the South Sudan task force on COVID-19, emphasized the importance of social distancing and adherence to preventative guidelines as students and teachers return to the classroom. The government has observed a significant drop in COVID-19 cases and is urging teachers to get vaccinated, with plans to increase vaccination centers. General education minister Awut Deng cautioned that schools could close again if health protocols are not followed but encouraged parents to send their children back to school. The lockdown had significant impacts on students and teachers, with many students missing out on education and others dropping out. The government is committed to improving working conditions for teachers during the pandemic. South Sudan has reported 115 COVID-19 deaths and over 10,000 cases to date.

Sudan Ratifies Women's Rights Convention — With Exceptions

29 Apr 2021  |  voanews.com
Sudan's Ministers Council ratified the UN's Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) with reservations, particularly on articles asserting women's equality with men in political, social levels, and in marriage, divorce, and parenting. Women's rights groups and activists, including Ihsan Fagiri and Einas Muzamil, criticized the reservations, arguing they contradict the convention's goals and express the government's reluctance to enact genuine equality reforms. The article also references the significant role of Sudanese women in the demonstrations against former President Omar al-Bashir and their subsequent international recognition. The transitional government's ratification of the Maputo Protocol on women's rights in Africa is also mentioned, with political analyst Waleed Zakaria commenting on the government's challenging position between conservative forces and international image concerns.

Shooting Stops in West Darfur but Thousands Need Help After Ethnic Clashes

15 Apr 2021  |  voaafrica.com
The article reports on the cessation of violence in El Geneina, West Darfur, following days of ethnic and tribal clashes. The U.N. refugee agency and UNOCHA have highlighted the urgent needs of the displaced population, including food, water, shelter, and sanitation. Thousands have been displaced, with over 1,800 fleeing to Chad. The city's water supply is cut off, leading to a significant increase in water prices, and sanitation issues are raising concerns about potential disease outbreaks. Dr. Adam Zachariah from El Geneina Teaching Hospital described the dire conditions for the displaced and criticized the lack of protection for medical workers. The death toll has risen to 207, with more than 230 injured. General Abdul Fatah Al Burhan visited El Geneina but did not meet with the injured or displaced, focusing instead on military responses. A rapid needs assessment is necessary for distributing relief aid, and access to safe drinking water and sanitation is a major concern.

IMF, World Bank Begin Push to Swap Debt Relief for Green Projects

11 Apr 2021  |  voanews.com
During the IMF and World Bank spring meetings, the concept of 'green debt swaps' was discussed as a solution for low-income countries facing the dual challenge of debt repayment and environmental issues. Kristalina Georgieva of the IMF and a World Bank spokesperson highlighted the vulnerability of these countries, exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. A technical working group, including the IMF, World Bank, United Nations, and OECD, is exploring creative options to address climate and debt challenges, with proposals expected by the COP26 climate summit. Thierry Deau of Meridiam emphasized the need for clear conditions to ensure debt relief leads to green projects. The IMF and World Bank are also considering the situation of middle-income island nations affected by climate change and the pandemic's impact on tourism.

West Darfur Tribal Clash Death Toll Rises to 87

07 Apr 2021  |  voaafrica.com
The article reports on the escalating violence in Sudan's West Darfur state, where the death toll has risen to 87, with 191 people injured. Clashes between Arab militia and Masalit tribesmen have caused thousands to flee the state capital, El Geneina. The United Nations' OCHA has highlighted the dire situation, with hospitals understaffed, lacking power, and facing shortages of drugs. Humanitarian operations have been suspended due to the security situation. The U.N. has praised Sudan's transitional government for its response but notes the significant impact on humanitarian aid delivery and the need for $2 billion in donor support. The conflict, which began in mid-January following the withdrawal of UNAMID, has led to massive displacement, with over 109,000 people affected.

Tribal Clashes Kill More Than 50 in Sudan’s West Darfur State

06 Apr 2021  |  voaafrica.com
In West Darfur, Sudan, at least 50 people have died and over 100 are injured following three days of ethnic clashes between Arab and Masalit tribes in El Geneina. The Sudanese military has promised to restore peace, and a state of emergency was declared. The Committee of West Darfur Doctors reported the casualties and is seeking access to collect comprehensive data. The violence began with the killing of two Masalit youths, escalating to heavy fighting. Sudan's Defense Minister, Major General Yassin Ibrahim, outlined government measures to quell the conflict, including a higher committee to address peace agreement breaches and legal control over weapons. The Darfur conflict, which started in 2003, has seen a resurgence despite recent peace agreements. Political analyst Abbas Mohamed expressed concern that the ongoing tribal violence could jeopardize Sudan's peace process. Former President Omar al-Bashir, charged with war crimes in Darfur by the International Criminal Court, is currently imprisoned in Khartoum.

Tribal clashes in Sudan's Darfur region leave at least 18 dead

05 Apr 2021  |  voanews.com
Recent tribal clashes in Sudan's Darfur region have resulted in at least 18 deaths and 54 injuries, as reported by the West Darfur Doctors' Committee. The violence occurred over the weekend and continued into Monday, with the sound of gunfire reported by eyewitness Abdelrahman Ahmed. The region of Darfur has a history of conflict, notably beginning in 2003, which led to significant casualties and displacement. Despite a decrease in conflict intensity over the years, sporadic tribal clashes persist, often between Arab pastoralists and non-Arab farmers. The transitional government of Sudan, post the ousting of Omar al-Bashir in 2019, is working towards peace in conflict zones like Darfur. The U.N. and African Union concluded their peacekeeping mission in the region at the end of the previous year.

Sudan, Rebel Group Sign Agreement on Separation of Religion and State

28 Mar 2021  |  voanews.com
The Sudanese government and the SPLM-N rebel group signed a 'Declaration of Principles' in Juba, South Sudan, which is a significant move towards a final peace agreement. This document ensures freedom of worship and the separation of religion from the state, addressing a longstanding demand by the SPLM-N for a secular government. The agreement was reached under the power-sharing government of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and is seen as a step to end conflicts that have caused massive displacement and loss of life. The SPLM-N, led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu, had previously refused to sign a peace agreement without these conditions. The declaration could lead to further negotiations on power-sharing and the integration of combatants. Sudan has been in conflict for decades, exacerbated by the secession of South Sudan in 2011 and the fall of Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

Sudan Normalizes Relations With World Bank

27 Mar 2021  |  voanews.com
Sudan has recently celebrated the normalization of its relations with the World Bank Group after a U.S. bridge loan facilitated the reduction of its significant debt. The celebration was broadcast on national TV, with officials from both the World Bank and the Sudanese government marking the occasion. Sudan has been declared eligible for debt relief under the HIPC Initiative by the World Bank and IMF. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok praised the economic reforms of the transitional government, which have been instrumental in achieving this milestone. The reforms were necessary to meet the requirements of international financial institutions and to access international funds. Sudan's Finance Minister Jibril Ibrahim acknowledged the U.S. role in clearing Sudan's arrears and the World Bank's support, including a grant to aid debt relief. The World Bank's executive director, Axel Van Trotsenberg, expressed readiness to support Sudan's transition with about $2 billion in IDA grants.

Travel Industry Backs Vaccine Passports to Boost Pandemic-Depressed Travel

18 Mar 2021  |  voanews.com
The article discusses the travel industry's support for vaccine passports as a means to revive international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Various technology companies and trade groups, including the International Air Transport Association and IBM, are developing digital health passes. These would show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. The article raises questions about the effectiveness, fairness, privacy, and international acceptance of these health credentials. While the Biden administration has indicated that the U.S. government will not take a leading role in developing these passports, preferring the private sector to handle it, other countries like Israel and Denmark are actively involved in their implementation. Critics express concerns about privacy and equity, as vaccine passports may favor wealthier individuals and nations.

Sudan Requests Four-Party Mediation Over Ethiopian Dam Dispute

17 Mar 2021  |  voanews.com
Sudan has officially sought the assistance of a four-party mediation involving the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States to resolve the dispute with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has sent formal requests to these entities to help reach a legal agreement on the dam's operation. Ethiopia's construction of the dam and the initial filling of its reservoir have caused tensions with downstream neighbors Sudan and Egypt, who fear the impact on their water supplies. Despite previous breakdowns in talks, Ethiopia, through its Foreign Minister Dina Mofti, has expressed willingness to resume negotiations before the next phase of filling the reservoir.

UN: Pandemic Blocked Access to Birth Control in 115 Low- and Medium-Income Countries

12 Mar 2021  |  voanews.com
The article discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on contraception access, reporting that 12 million women in low- and medium-income countries faced disruptions in services, leading to 1.4 million unintended pregnancies. Dr. Natalia Kanem of UNFPA highlighted efforts to ensure continuous access to contraceptives. The article also covers the temporary suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine in several European countries due to concerns over blood clots, while the WHO and British officials maintain its safety. Additionally, it mentions Tanzania's unreported COVID-19 cases, India's surge in cases, and the positive COVID-19 tests of Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria and her husband. Global COVID-19 cases have surpassed 118 million, with the U.S., India, and Brazil having the highest numbers.

Sudan Launches COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign

11 Mar 2021  |  voanews.com
Sudan has initiated its COVID-19 vaccination campaign with the AstraZeneca vaccine acquired through the COVAX initiative. The campaign is prioritizing the elderly and healthcare workers, who have faced high risks and inadequate personal protective equipment since the pandemic's onset. Despite the loss of at least 60 healthcare workers to the virus since December, the start of vaccinations has brought optimism among medical professionals. Sudan's Ministry of Health has cautioned about the potential onset of a third wave of infections. The country has reported nearly 29,000 COVID-19 cases and over 1,900 deaths. Sudan received 820,000 doses initially and expects a total of 3.4 million doses from COVAX.

South Sudan Plane Crash Kills All 10 On Board

03 Mar 2021  |  voaafrica.com
A plane crash in Jonglei state, South Sudan, resulted in the deaths of 10 people, including two crew members. The incident involved a South Supreme Airlines aircraft, HK-4274, which experienced dual engine failure shortly after departure from Pieri. The plane was en route from Juba to Pibor. Kur Kuol, the director of the South Sudan Civil Aviation Authority, is overseeing the preliminary investigation and the search for the aircraft's black box. The airline's owner, Ayii Duang Ayii, stated that the plane had no known technical issues prior to takeoff. The crash is reminiscent of a 2017 incident where another plane from the same airline was destroyed in a fire at Wau Airport.

Sudan Ends Over 20 Years of Economic Isolation with First U.S. Bank Wire Transfer

03 Mar 2021  |  voanews.com
The article discusses the re-establishment of direct banking transactions between Sudan and the United States, marking the end of Sudan's over 20-year economic isolation. The Sudanese Ambassador to the U.S., Nureldin Satti, confirmed the successful test wire transfer from Qatar National Bank in Khartoum to his Wells Fargo account in the U.S. The U.S. Department of Treasury had encouraged such transactions, and the move is expected to benefit the Sudanese economy by facilitating remittances. The article also touches on the history of economic sanctions against Sudan, their lifting by the Obama administration, and recent economic reforms, including the floating of the Sudanese pound to unify exchange rates as part of an IMF-endorsed plan. Another test transfer from the U.S. to Sudan is planned, which could open up reliable remittance channels for the Sudanese diaspora.

U.S. Naval Forces Visit Sudan for the First Time in Decades

02 Mar 2021  |  voanews.com
The USS Winston Churchill, a U.S. missile guided destroyer, has docked at Port Sudan, marking the first visit by U.S. naval forces to Sudan in decades. This event comes after Sudan was removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism in December. Sudanese naval commander Alnairi Hassan hailed the visit as historic and indicative of renewed relations between Sudan and the U.S. Rear Admiral Michael Baze from the U.S. Navy's Sixth Fleet expressed the U.S.'s desire to build a partnership with Sudan's armed forces. The visit aligns with U.S. support for Sudan's progress towards democratic principles. Concurrently, a Russian warship is also at Port Sudan, with Russia awaiting approval to establish its first African naval base there.

184,000 Displaced in West Darfur Need Food, Shelter

25 Feb 2021  |  voaafrica.com
The International Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) has reported that over 180,000 people were displaced in Darfur, Sudan, due to recent intercommunal violence, particularly in Al Geneina town. These internally displaced persons (IDPs) are in urgent need of food, shelter, and assistance. The IDMC urges Sudan's transitional government to collaborate with humanitarian partners to provide relief and implement the October 2020 peace agreement's provisions for resettling IDPs. The violence has destroyed crops and livestock, exacerbating food insecurity. The United Nations has noted the displacement's impact on education, with 32 schools occupied by IDPs. Adam Rijal, a spokesperson for the IDPs, highlighted the insufficient aid reaching the affected population. The IDMC's regional coordinator, Ivana Hajzmanova, emphasized the need for security and support for IDPs to return home or integrate into host communities. The government is also called upon to address the root causes of violence in Darfur.

Sudan Ratifies U.N. Conventions Against Torture, Enforced Disappearances

24 Feb 2021  |  voanews.com
Sudan's Sovereign Council has ratified U.N. conventions against torture and enforced disappearances, a significant move given the country's history of such abuses under former president Omar al-Bashir. The Minister of Justice, Nasreldin Abdelbari, announced the ratification of the 2006 and 1984 U.N. conventions. The delay in ratification was attributed to potential involvement of the military's Rapid Support Forces in abuses. Rights groups and victims, including Emad Hamdoun, see this as a victory. Rights activists, represented by Winni Omer of the Protect the Right to Life Campaign, urge the government to implement measures ensuring the conventions' effectiveness. Concurrently, the Sudanese Supreme Court has confirmed death sentences for 29 security officers for the murder of a teacher during the 2019 uprisings.

Western Ethiopia Fighting Sends Thousands Fleeing to Sudan

23 Feb 2021  |  voanews.com
The article reports on the recent surge of intercommunal violence in Ethiopia's Western Benishangul Gumuz region, which has led to thousands of people fleeing to Sudan's Blue Nile State. The violence in the Metekel zone has been escalating over the past three months, with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission estimating around 500 deaths in the last five months. The U.N. refugee agency spokesperson, Babar Baloch, indicates that the number of refugees has increased significantly in recent weeks, with an estimated 7,000 seeking safety in Sudan. The Ethiopian federal government declared a state of emergency in the Metekel zone on January 21. The UNHCR is collaborating with Sudanese authorities to provide humanitarian assistance to the refugees, with nearly 3,000 registered and 1,000 receiving aid so far.

Sudan Devalues Currency in Hopes of Righting Economy

22 Feb 2021  |  voaafrica.com
Sudan's central bank has devalued the Sudanese pound to 370 pounds per U.S. dollar, aligning it with the black market rate, in efforts to secure debt relief, combat the black market, and attract investments. The country is facing an inflation rate over 300% and a foreign debt of $70 billion. While economist Abubakr Omer supports the move for economic reform, Waleed Alnoor warns of its risks, particularly to the middle class and low-income individuals. Analyst Abubakr Mohamed believes the impact on the average person will be minimal since the official economy was not market-driven. The U.S. recently removed Sudan from its terrorism list, which may help Sudan receive financial assistance from the World Bank and IMF, with a loan relief program set to start in March contingent on Sudan's economic reforms.

6 South Sudanese Refugee Children Killed by Suspected Explosive Device in Uganda

19 Feb 2021  |  voaafrica.com
In the Ugandan district of Adjumani, six children were killed by an explosive device they found while playing in a refugee settlement. The children, aged nine to 14, were from the Maaji Two refugee settlement, which houses many South Sudanese refugees. Police spokesperson Josephine Angucia reported that the children tried to open the device with a knife, leading to the explosion. Three children died instantly, while three others succumbed to their injuries at a local hospital. The police believe the unexploded ordnance could be a remnant from past conflicts involving the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) or the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF). Authorities are now working to sensitize the community about the dangers of unexploded devices and to provide comfort to the affected families.

Sudan Recalls Envoy to Ethiopia As Tensions High

17 Feb 2021  |  voanews.com
Sudan has recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia for consultations amid escalating tensions between the two countries. The recall was confirmed by Sudan's foreign ministry spokesman, Mansour Boulad. The tensions are primarily due to disputes over the Al-Fashaqa border region, which is fertile land cultivated by Ethiopian farmers but claimed by Sudan. Both nations have accused each other of territorial violations and violence in the area. Additionally, there is controversy surrounding Ethiopia's Blue Nile dam, which is another point of contention between the two countries. The Sudanese envoy is expected to return after the consultations are completed, although no details were provided on the discussions.

Analysts See Continued Tension But No War Between Sudan, Ethiopia

16 Feb 2021  |  voanews.com
Sudan has accused Ethiopian troops of crossing into its territory, escalating a long-standing border dispute centered around the al-Fashaga area. This tension is compounded by the construction of Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River, which Egypt and Sudan fear will threaten their water supply. Despite the incursion, both nations have been urged to avoid war due to their respective internal developments. Sudanese and Ethiopian decision-makers recognize the futility of conflict, which would jeopardize their economic and democratic progress. Political analysts from both Sudan and Ethiopia suggest that the GERD is a significant factor in the dispute, potentially leading to skirmishes but not full-scale war. South Sudan has offered to mediate, and Ethiopia demands Sudanese military withdrawal from the border as a precondition for negotiations.

In An Anxious Winter, The Garden Still Offers Consolation

10 Feb 2021  |  voanews.com
The article reflects on the role of gardens during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting their importance as a source of comfort and a symbol of hope during tough times. It discusses the surge in gardening activities during the early days of the pandemic, with seed shortages and increased sales of gardening tools. The piece also touches on the therapeutic benefits of gardening, the anticipation of spring, and the continuity of the seasons despite the challenges posed by climate change. It emphasizes the joy of planning a garden, the trend of indoor gardening, and the optimism brought about by the rollout of vaccines. The article includes references to literary works and quotes that underscore the garden's role in providing solace and a sense of stability.

African Union Launches Website to Improve Journalist Protections

29 Jan 2021  |  voanews.com
The African Union has launched a website to track and monitor threats against journalists in Africa, aiming to bolster media worker protections and support freedom of expression. In 2020, six African journalists were killed, with many more facing threats, arrests, and censorship. The website, www.safetyofjournalistsinafrica.africa, was launched to help end harassment and violence against journalists. Jovial Rantao, chairman of the African Editors Forum, emphasized the importance of media freedom. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa defended journalists' rights, while media freedom advocates reminded of the responsibilities of journalists, citing the case of Felicien Kabuga of Rwanda. The platform also highlights ongoing violations, such as the recent killing of Ethiopian journalist Dawit Kebede Araya by security forces.

Sudanese Journalists Accuse Military of Blocking Access to Troubled Darfur

28 Jan 2021  |  voanews.com
The Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) has accused the Sudanese military of preventing journalists from accessing the conflict-ridden region of Darfur following recent clashes that resulted in numerous deaths and displacements. The military denied the existence of a ban despite earlier citing security concerns. The issue surfaced when Al Jazeera's correspondent was denied a travel permit to Darfur, with similar reports from other journalists. The SJN has urged journalists to defend press freedom, while the Sudanese military claims to have facilitated journalist access in volatile areas. The Ministry of Information supports the military's statement. Yousif Hindosa from The Committee to Restore the Sudanese Journalist Union criticized the travel restrictions, emphasizing the journalist's role in reporting the situation on the ground. Last year, the SJN received a Press Freedom Award from Reporters Without Borders. U.N. agencies report over 117,000 people have been displaced within Darfur, with many seeking refuge in Chad.

Thousands of Eritrean Refugees in Tigray Desperately Short of Aid

19 Jan 2021  |  voanews.com
The article reports on the dire situation of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia's Tigray province, where thousands are trapped due to fighting. The Ethiopian government had restricted humanitarian access to the refugee camps, but the U.N. refugee agency was recently granted one-time access to Mai Aini and Adi Harush camps. Conditions in the camps are critical, with refugees lacking food and basic services for over two months. The World Food Program has provided a one-time food distribution, and U.N. staff have distributed food to 25,000 refugees, although the number of refugees before the conflict was double that. There are also concerns about the safety of refugees, reports of damage to other camps, and fears of refugees being forcibly returned to Eritrea.

UN Rushing to Relocate Ethiopian Refugees Away From Sudanese Border

16 Jan 2021  |  voanews.com
The United Nations and its refugee agency, UNHCR, are actively relocating Ethiopian refugees from the volatile Sudan-Ethiopia border to safer locations. The conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray province has led to over 58,000 refugees fleeing into Sudan. The UNHCR, with its partners, is decongesting the border areas by moving refugees to the Um Rakuba and Tunaydbah camps, which are further from the border and offer better living conditions. The Um Rakuba camp has already reached its capacity, and the new Tunaydbah camp is being developed without electricity and basic infrastructure. Despite the challenges, including a 15-hour journey over rough terrain, aid agencies are providing health care, water, and food. However, more funding is needed as only 33% of the U.N.'s appeal for $147 million has been met to support the growing needs of the refugees.

Sudan Accuses Ethiopia of Escalating Tensions Over Disputed Territory

15 Jan 2021  |  voaafrica.com
Tensions have escalated between Sudan and Ethiopia over the disputed al-Fashaga border area. Sudan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused Ethiopia of a 'dangerous and unjustified escalation' by sending military planes into Sudanese airspace. Additionally, Sudan claims Ethiopian-backed armed groups killed civilians in border villages. Sudanese military leader, Lieutenant General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, emphasized Sudan's patience and accused Ethiopia of initiating conflict. Displacements have occurred near the border, and a joint committee formed to resolve the dispute has seen little progress. Ethiopia's ambassador in Khartoum, Yibeltal Aemero, accused Sudan of seizing land during Ethiopia's Tigray conflict. Security experts warn of significant regional ramifications, and over 50,000 Ethiopians have fled to Sudan due to the Tigray war.

UN Slams Ethiopian Government for Blocking Aid to Conflict-Ridden Tigray

15 Jan 2021  |  voanews.com
U.N. agencies, including the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR), are criticizing Ethiopian authorities for not honoring an agreement to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians in the conflict-ridden Tigray province. Despite the deal made in early December, OCHA reports that aid is still largely blocked due to fighting, civilian casualties, and bureaucratic obstacles. Jens Laerke, an OCHA spokesman, highlights the rise in malnutrition and water-borne diseases among the population. The UNHCR is also concerned about the welfare of Eritrean refugees in Tigray, with tens of thousands at risk and unable to receive assistance, especially in the Shimelba and Hitsats camps. Both agencies are calling for unhindered access to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to save lives.

UN Refugee Chief 'Very Worried' for Eritrean Refugees in Tigray

14 Jan 2021  |  voanews.com
Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, expressed serious concerns about the humanitarian conditions in Ethiopia's Tigray Region, particularly for the Eritrean refugees affected by the conflict. Despite some aid reaching a few camps, workers have not been able to access all areas, leaving refugees without aid for weeks. Reports of human rights abuses and violence are prevalent, and the conflict has led to significant displacement, with many fleeing to Sudan or other parts of Ethiopia. The conflict began after the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) attacked a federal military base, which led to a government military response.

270 Million COVID Vaccine Doses Headed for African Continent

14 Jan 2021  |  voanews.com
The African Union (AU) has announced that Africa is set to receive approximately 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, aiming for equitable distribution across the continent. A team from the AU has been working for over two months to secure these vaccines, which are less than a fifth of the 1.5 billion doses needed to vaccinate 70% of the population for herd immunity. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesman, Tyrone Seale, emphasized the continent's collaborative efforts and the use of limited resources to secure the vaccines. The doses, manufactured by Pfizer and AstraZeneca in India, will start arriving between April and June, with more to follow later in the year. South Africa, the continent's hardest-hit country, expects to receive 1.5 million doses by February and aims to vaccinate 40 million people by the end of the year. The AU is also working with Afreximbank and the World Bank to finance vaccine procurement, hoping for donor support to alleviate the financial burden on member states.

Players, Officials Face Tough COVID-19 Controls Ahead of Australian Open

14 Jan 2021  |  voanews.com
The Australian Open is set to commence with around 1,200 tennis players and officials arriving in Melbourne under strict COVID-19 protocols. Participants must undergo a 14-day hotel quarantine but are permitted to train for a few hours daily. They will be tested for COVID-19 before travel and daily during their stay. Fines are in place for biosecurity breaches. The event is seen as beneficial for Melbourne's economic and psychological recovery post-lockdown. Queensland is enhancing biosecurity measures due to a new coronavirus strain. Australia's strategy against COVID-19 has included border closures, mass testing, and contact tracing, with a reduction in international arrivals to mitigate the risk of the new strain.

California Moves to Vaccinate All Residents Over 65

14 Jan 2021  |  voanews.com
California has made all residents over 65 eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, prioritizing them over other groups such as emergency workers and teachers. Governors in Ohio and Arizona are pushing for teacher vaccinations to help reopen schools. The U.S. continues to lead in COVID-19 deaths and cases, with a new single-day record set. Portugal has entered a nationwide lockdown, while China sees its highest daily increase in cases since July. Brazil reports lower efficacy for China's Sinovac vaccine than previously announced. Indonesia begins its vaccination campaign with President Joko Widodo receiving the first shot. Japan expands its state of emergency due to rising cases. The article provides updates on the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on vaccination efforts and containment measures.

Aid Groups Warn of COVID-19 Outbreak at Ethiopian Refugee Camp in Sudan

13 Jan 2021  |  voaafrica.com
Aid workers have reported cases of COVID-19 in Sudan's Um Rakouba camp, which shelters Ethiopian refugees from the Tigray Region. The United Nations refugee agency and Mercy Corps have identified an urgent need for intervention to prevent a humanitarian disaster. The camp, housing 25,000 people in overcrowded conditions, has confirmed four cases of the virus. Mercy Corps, which operates a health clinic in the camp, and UNHCR are taking measures to contain the spread, including quarantine and contact tracing. Additional funding and resources are required to manage the outbreak effectively. Sudan has over 23,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and preparations are underway to move refugees to a new camp for better security and to distance them from the border area.

Eritrea’s Role Questioned as Reports Emerge of Its Involvement in Tigray Conflict

09 Jan 2021  |  voanews.com
The article discusses the involvement of Eritrean security forces in the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, which has been a subject of speculation and denial by both the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments. Satellite evidence and comments from a senior Ethiopian military official, Major General Belay Seyoum, as well as a professor from Queen’s University, Awet Weldemichael, suggest that Eritrean troops have been operating in Ethiopia with coordination and planning. The Ethiopian government's narrative has been contradicted by these reports, and international observers have accused Eritrean forces of human rights violations against Eritrean refugees in Tigray. The U.S. State Department has called for the withdrawal of Eritrean troops and an independent investigation into the reports of abuses. The article also mentions the Addis Standard's publication of the military official's comments and the U.S. Senators' joint statement on the issue.

Greece Approves Landmark Defense Deal with Israel Amid Turkey Tensions

08 Jan 2021  |  voanews.com
Greece has approved a $1.68 billion defense deal with Israel, which includes the procurement of 10 Mavi M-346 jet trainers and the establishment of a flight school by Israel's Elbit Systems in Kalamata, Greece. This agreement, marking a significant shift in Greece's Middle East policy, aims to upgrade Greek defenses, particularly against Turkey. The deal also reflects deeper relations between Greece and Israel, amidst Greece's broader defense procurement plans involving other countries like the United States and France. Tensions between Greece and Turkey persist, especially over energy exploration rights in the Eastern Mediterranean. The article also touches on the historical alliance between Israel and Turkey, the deterioration of their relations, and recent signs of potential rapprochement, despite ongoing distrust.

Sudan Signs Abraham Accords, Normalizes Relations with Israel

07 Jan 2021  |  voaafrica.com
Sudan has joined the Abraham Accords, normalizing relations with Israel, which was signed at the U.S embassy in Khartoum. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Sudanese Minister of Justice Nasereldin Abdelbari represented their respective countries. The agreement is expected to have significant cultural and economic benefits for both nations. Sudan's motivation for signing includes removal from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism and access to international loans. Following the removal, the U.S. provided a $1 billion bridge loan to help Sudan clear its World Bank debt. Sudanese economist Waleed El-Noor commented on the positive economic impact for Sudan, including access to annual World Bank loans of $1.5 billion.

Ethiopians Continue Streaming Into Sudan, Fleeing Tigray Region Violence

05 Jan 2021  |  voanews.com
The article reports on the ongoing refugee crisis resulting from the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region. Since early November, over 56,000 Ethiopians have fled to eastern Sudan, with 800 arriving since the new year. The UNHCR spokesperson, Andrej Mahecic, highlights the dire conditions of the refugees, who face violence, looting, forced recruitment, and sexual violence. The reception centers near the border are overcrowded, prompting relocations to a new site in Sudan. Humanitarian agencies are scaling up assistance, but funding falls short of the needs, with only $40 million pledged out of the $156 million required for emergency aid through the first half of 2021.

UN's Global Cease-fire Plea Falls on Deaf Ears

28 Dec 2020  |  voanews.com
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a global cease-fire to focus on combating the virus. Despite nearly 200 countries endorsing the plea, conflicts continued unabated worldwide. David Miliband of the International Rescue Committee criticized the lack of effort by major powers to negotiate peace deals. The article details ongoing conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Yemen, Ukraine, and Ethiopia's Tigray region, highlighting the complexities and the increasing number of actors involved in modern warfare. It also notes the challenges in delivering humanitarian aid due to the complexity of these conflicts. The International Rescue Committee has observed a significant rise in internationalized civil conflicts and the growing influence of nonstate armed groups.

Tigray Conflict: Refugees in Sudan Reluctant to Return Home Despite Ethiopian Government's Claims

24 Dec 2020  |  voanews.com
The article reports on the situation of over 50,000 refugees in Sudan who have escaped the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region. Despite the Ethiopian government's claim that the fighting has ceased, the refugees in Hashaba Refugees Camp express concerns that it is not yet safe to return to their homes. The report is based on observations from the Hashaba Refugees Camp in Sudan, highlighting the ongoing humanitarian issues faced by those displaced by the conflict.

Tigray Refugees in Sudan Say it’s Not Safe to Return to Ethiopia

24 Dec 2020  |  voanews.com
The article reports on the situation of over 50,000 Ethiopian refugees in Sudan, who have fled the conflict in the Tigray region. Despite the Ethiopian government's claim that the conflict has ended, refugees are hesitant to return, citing safety concerns. Sudanese authorities have accommodated the refugees in camps, with plans to construct more. International and local organizations are providing basic necessities. Sudan aims to relocate refugees to the Um Rakouba camp for safety reasons. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has urged refugees to return, but many, including Haminat Dibrsyo and Ellol Gabriot, feel it is too soon and unsafe. Additionally, Sudan and Ethiopia have initiated talks to demarcate disputed border areas adjacent to Tigray.

Sudan Welcomes US Decision to Remove Khartoum from Sponsors of Terrorism List

15 Dec 2020  |  voanews.com
The United States has officially removed Sudan from its State Sponsors of Terrorism list, a move celebrated by Sudan as a significant victory following the 2019 revolution that ended Omar al-Bashir's rule. Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok sees this as a transformative event that will alter Sudan's global interactions. Economists, including Sidgi Kabalo, believe this action will open doors to international funding and investments, fostering Sudan's economic growth. The U.S. had listed Sudan as a terrorism sponsor in 1993 due to its support for terrorist groups and involvement in attacks on U.S. interests. The recent decision comes after Sudan agreed to compensate victims of past terror attacks. Cameron Hudson, a former U.S. official, views this as the beginning of a new chapter in U.S.-Sudan relations, anticipating political dialogue and investment opportunities. Sudan is preparing to celebrate the second anniversary of the revolution that deposed al-Bashir, with hopes for democratic and economic progress.

Expert: No Evidence UAE Drones Are Being Used in Ethiopia’s Tigray Conflict

10 Dec 2020  |  voanews.com
The article discusses the allegations made by forces in Ethiopia's Tigray region that the federal government is using weaponized drones from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), stationed in Eritrea, in the conflict. Wim Zwijnenburg, a project leader for PAX, has analyzed satellite imagery and found that UAE drones are present in Eritrea but found no evidence of their use in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government claims to be conducting targeted strikes in Tigray using its own air force. The article also references the use of UAE drones in Libya and the presence of drone technology in other African nations. It raises concerns about the potential for drones to lower the threshold for the use of lethal force in conflicts.

Ethiopia Says Forces Fired on UN Team in Embattled Tigray Region

08 Dec 2020  |  voanews.com
The Ethiopian government admitted that its forces fired upon UN staff in the Tigray Region after they allegedly passed through two checkpoints and attempted to cross a third without authorization. The incident occurred as the UN team was trying to reach the Shimelba refugee camp. The UN staff were detained but later released. UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric expressed concern and mentioned high-level engagements to prevent future incidents. The UN had previously reached an agreement with Ethiopia to provide humanitarian aid in Tigray, but access remains limited. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is also facing challenges in delivering aid and medical supplies to the region. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared victory over the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), but the conflict continues as TPLF leaders have retreated to the mountains, potentially indicating a shift to guerrilla tactics.

Ethiopia's Conflict Stokes Humanitarian and Virus Crisis

06 Dec 2020  |  voanews.com
The conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region has exacerbated the challenges of combating the coronavirus outbreak. The war has displaced nearly a million people, many of whom have fled to Sudan, where refugee camps lack COVID-19 testing and treatment facilities. The crowded conditions in the camps, with limited access to masks and basic necessities, have made it difficult to maintain health measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Humanitarian aid to Tigray has been blocked, causing a shortage of medical supplies. The U.N. has reached an agreement with Ethiopia for aid access in government-controlled areas of Tigray, but the situation remains dire as the conflict continues. Ethiopia's health minister has not provided updates on the situation, and the Africa CDC acknowledges the difficulty of controlling the outbreak amidst instability.

Sudanese Military Enters Disputed Lands Neighboring Tigray Region

05 Dec 2020  |  voaafrica.com
Sudan's military has been deploying in the disputed agricultural lands along the border with Ethiopia, near the Tigray region. The Sudanese government has not made any official comments regarding the troop movements. The area has been under Ethiopian militias' control for over 25 years and is a point of contention between Sudan and Ethiopia. Local security officials indicate that Sudanese troops are taking advantage of the Ethiopian military's preoccupation with the Tigray conflict to assert control over the territory. In May, an Ethiopian militia attacked villages in Eastern Qadarif, causing civilian and military casualties, which Sudan condemned. Analyst Mohydeen Jibreel believes neither country will comment on the movements. Additionally, Sudan is currently providing refuge to over 43,000 Ethiopian refugees from the Tigray conflict, with numbers expected to rise.

Fears of 'protracted civil war' as Ethiopian troops take Tigrayan capital

04 Dec 2020  |  voanews.com
The conflict between Ethiopian federal troops and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) continues, with the federal army taking control of Mekelle, the regional capital of Tigray. Despite claims of peace returning to the area, TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael alleges that protests are occurring in Mekelle due to looting by Eritrean soldiers, an accusation denied by both Ethiopia and Eritrea. Communications are down, making verification difficult, but thousands are believed dead and over 45,000 have fled to Sudan. The UN and aid agencies are concerned about the humanitarian crisis, as Tigray was already dependent on food aid. Mulu Nega, appointed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to lead the Provisional Administration of Tigray, is focusing on restoring peace and stability. Abiy's actions against Tigray have raised international concern, with fears of a protracted civil war being discussed at a U.S. congressional hearing.

Relief Agencies Prepare Aid for Ethiopia’s Tigray Region

03 Dec 2020  |  voanews.com
Humanitarian agencies are gearing up to deliver aid to Ethiopia's Tigray region following a month-long conflict that has likely resulted in thousands of deaths and exacerbated an existing humanitarian crisis. The United Nations has secured an agreement with the Ethiopian government to provide aid to government-controlled areas in Tigray. This deal marks the first time aid will reach the region since the conflict started on November 4. Prior to the war, 600,000 people were already reliant on food aid. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has declared victory over the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), although the TPLF seems to be adopting guerrilla tactics. Despite ongoing conflict, aid organizations like the Norwegian Refugee Council are ready to dispatch aid to the region, where there is a severe shortage of food and medicine.

Nurses Wanted: Swamped US Hospitals Scramble for Pandemic Help

03 Dec 2020  |  voanews.com
U.S. hospitals are facing severe staffing shortages amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, with patient numbers doubling over the past month. To combat this, hospitals are enticing retired nurses and doctors to return to work, recruiting students and new graduates without licenses, and offering high salaries. States like Wisconsin and Nebraska are easing licensing requirements for retirees, while Iowa and Minnesota are creating opportunities for nursing students. Hospitals are also offering significant signing bonuses and hiring travel nurses at competitive rates. The CDC has warned of a challenging period ahead, and healthcare workers are experiencing burnout and increased risk of infection. The article also highlights the personal stories of healthcare workers like Landon Brown and Laura Cutolo, who are on the front lines of the pandemic.

COVID-19 Outbreak Threatens Ethiopian Refugees in Sudan

02 Dec 2020  |  voanews.com
The article reports on the plight of Ethiopian refugees who have escaped the conflict in the Tigray region and are now facing a new challenge in the form of a COVID-19 outbreak in refugee camps in Sudan. The journalist, Naba Mohiedeen, provides an on-the-ground perspective from Al Qadarif, Sudan, highlighting the risks and conditions faced by the refugees. The report also implies the efforts being made to control the outbreak and the additional strain it puts on the already vulnerable population.

UN, Ethiopia Agree on Humanitarian Aid for Tigray Region

02 Dec 2020  |  voanews.com
The United Nations has announced an agreement with Ethiopia to provide humanitarian aid to the Tigray region, where recent conflict has exacerbated an existing humanitarian crisis. The agreement allows aid workers to access areas controlled by the federal government and deliver food, medicine, and other aid to the 6 million residents, including 600,000 who were already dependent on food aid before the conflict. The U.N. is set to assess the region's needs and ensure assistance reaches everyone in need. The conflict, which began on November 4, has resulted in thousands of deaths and the displacement of 45,000 people to Sudan. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has been resistant to international calls for de-escalation, initiated the offensive in Tigray after an alleged attack on a military base by the TPLF party.

UNHCR Seeks Urgent Access to Eritrean Refugees Trapped in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region

01 Dec 2020  |  voanews.com
The U.N. refugee agency is urgently requesting access to refugee camps in Ethiopia's Tigray region, where 96,000 Eritrean refugees are at risk due to a lack of humanitarian aid since the conflict began in early November. The last food distribution occurred before the Ethiopian military offensive started on November 4. The agency is concerned about the refugees' safety, as they may be caught in the conflict or forced to flee, with some already displaced within Tigray. Communication blackouts in the region make it difficult to verify the situation. The number of Ethiopians seeking refuge in Sudan has reached nearly 46,000, with recent arrivals reporting increased checkpoints and travel difficulties. The UNHCR is seeking $147 million to aid up to 100,000 refugees over the next six months.

Sudan Considers Total Lockdown With More COVID Cases

20 Nov 2020  |  voaafrica.com
Sudan is facing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, with Acting Health Minister Osma Abdurrahim highlighting a rise from 200 to 700 cases in recent weeks and nearly a hundred deaths in isolation centers. Abdurrahim, who has recovered from COVID-19 himself, urges citizens to adhere to preventative measures such as wearing masks. The health ministry is contemplating a total lockdown depending on the epidemic curve. Meanwhile, Acting Finance Minister Hiba Ahmed has tested positive but continues to work from home. The Ministry of Education, represented by undersecretary Tamadur Al Tarifi, has postponed the reopening of schools for two weeks, pending health officials' decisions. Schools had been shut since March but partially reopened last month for candidates with strict health protocols. The ministry will ensure schools comply with health directives upon reopening.

Witnesses: Ethiopia Bombs Tigray Capital as Fighting Continues

17 Nov 2020  |  voanews.com
The Ethiopian air force bombed the capital of the Tigray region, causing destruction and civilian casualties. The conflict has escalated, with over 25,300 refugees fleeing to Sudan. The TPLF leader reported civilian deaths, while the Ethiopian government insists on targeting only those who committed crimes against it. International calls for mediation have been rejected by Ethiopia, with the government emphasizing the conflict as an internal matter. The situation is worsening, with the conflict potentially destabilizing the Horn of Africa and involving neighboring Eritrea. Amnesty International reported a massacre in Mai-Kadra, with the Ethiopian government and TPLF trading accusations over responsibility.

Sudan's Role in the Tigray Conflict and the Influx of Refugees

16 Nov 2020  |  voanews.com
The article discusses the influx of refugees from the Tigray conflict in Ethiopia into Sudan, with at least 20,000 people fleeing to the eastern cities of Qaddarif and Kassala. Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has reached out to his Ethiopian counterpart, Abiy Ahmed, advocating for African mediation and an unbiased stance towards the conflict. Sudanese analysts, including Ibrahim Nassir, highlight Sudan's potential role in the conflict due to its interests with Ethiopia and Eritrea. Nassir recalls Sudan's historical support for Tigray and suggests that Sudan might support the Ethiopian federal government if its national security is threatened. The article also touches on Abiy Ahmed's role in mediating Sudan's power-sharing agreement post-Bashir and the recent state of emergency in Sudan due to tribal clashes.

Sudan's Government and Rebel Groups Sign Peace Agreement in Juba

03 Oct 2020  |  voanews.com
Leaders of Sudan's transitional government and various rebel groups signed a peace agreement in Juba, South Sudan, aiming to end nearly two decades of conflict in regions including Darfur. Sudan's interim President Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok expressed optimism and called for unity. Hamdok invited the remaining factions to join the peace deal, emphasizing the link between peace and development. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, who facilitated the negotiations, sought continued international support. The peace accord restructures Sudan into eight regions, includes wealth-sharing, reparations, and provisions for refugees.

UN FAO Pledges $70 Million to Help Sudan Families

01 Oct 2020  |  voaafrica.com
The FAO has committed $70 million to aid families in Sudan affected by severe flooding. Dominique Burgeon, the FAO's director of emergency response, highlighted the extensive damage to farmland and livestock, which threatens to exacerbate food insecurity among small-scale farmers. The Sudanese government declared a state of emergency due to the floods impacting most of the country. Lina Al Sheikh, Sudan's minister for labor and social development, emphasized the urgent need for intervention to prevent worsening food insecurity and malnutrition. The funds will be used for food, shelter, and medicine, and there is a call for civil society and volunteers to assist in the relief efforts.

Sudanese Women Keep Pushing for Democracy

30 Sep 2020  |  voaafrica.com
The article discusses the significant role of Sudanese women in the political transformation of Sudan following the ouster of former President Omar al-Bashir in 2019. Women have been appointed to high-profile positions, including a chief justice and four cabinet positions, marking a historic change in the country and the Arab world. Despite these advancements, women continue to protest for the amendment of laws and restoration of rights that were suppressed under Bashir's Islamic code. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) played a crucial role in the demonstrations, and its members, like Samahir Elmubarak, remain politically active. The article also highlights the personal story of Amira Kabous, whose involvement in the democratic movement persists despite the death of her son during a crackdown on protesters. Both Kabous and Elmubarak were honored with the 2020 Freedom House Award for their efforts in promoting democracy in Sudan.

Sudan Businesses Feel Pinch as Currency Devalues, Inflation Soars

22 Sep 2020  |  voaafrica.com
Sudan has declared an economic emergency due to a severe devaluation of the Sudanese pound and soaring inflation rates. The currency has fallen dramatically from 135 to 250 against the U.S. dollar in just one month, with annual inflation reaching 167 percent. This economic downturn has severely affected local traders at the Sajana Market in Khartoum, leading to a halt in purchasing new inventory and overstocked goods. Trader Khalif Mukashfi had to close his shop because of the poor exchange rate. Economic analysts, including al-Nayer Mohamed, attribute the pound's fall to government policies that have led to increased fuel prices, tariffs on imports, and a surge in black market currency exchanges. The crisis has also impacted food manufacturers and suppliers, causing shortages and price hikes. Sudanese officials are seeking to have the country removed from the U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism to gain access to international funding and aid economic recovery.

Rising Floodwaters Threaten Sudan's Ancient Structures

15 Sep 2020  |  voaafrica.com
Sudan is experiencing record flooding of the Nile River due to two weeks of heavy rain, which has displaced thousands and now threatens the ancient Royal City of Meroe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The floodwaters have already damaged parts of the site, including the royal bathroom. Experts from Khartoum, Nilain, and Shendi universities are working to protect the site from further damage. Umaima Hasabarrasul from the Sudan National Museums highlighted the importance of Meroe, noting its historical significance and cultural connections to Mediterranean civilizations. Sudan's information minister, Faisal Mohammed Saleh, emphasized the neglect of Sudanese historical sites by the previous government and announced plans for national fundraising to renovate the Royal City. The site, which includes over 100 pyramids, is now at risk of flooding for the first time in history.

Record Flooding Kills 100 in Sudan

10 Sep 2020  |  voaafrica.com
Sudan is facing a severe crisis due to record flooding that has resulted in over a hundred deaths and left tens of thousands homeless. The government has declared a state of emergency and is calling for assistance. The floods have also endangered the Meroe Pyramids, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the national museum of Sudan. The U.N. and other organizations have begun providing aid, including medicine, tents, and safe drinking water. UNESCO is working to evacuate artifacts and preserve affected sites. Arab countries have sent aid, and the Sudanese government has allocated funds for relief efforts and is preparing for potential epidemics. The rainy season is expected to continue, suggesting that the situation may worsen before it improves.

New Protests in Sudan Demand Faster Government Reforms

18 Aug 2020  |  voanews.com
Sudan observed the first anniversary of its civilian-military power-sharing deal with renewed protests demanding more substantial and swift reforms. Hundreds of protesters rallied in Khartoum, calling for adherence to the draft constitution and the formation of a new legislature. They also seek economic improvements, peace with rebels, and an end to tribal conflicts. Despite the transitional government's progress in peace talks and its commitment to surrender former officials to the ICC for war crimes, dissatisfaction persists. Political analyst Ahmed Abdelghani suggests these protests pose a significant challenge to the government. The former president Omar al-Bashir and his aides are awaiting trial for the 1989 coup that brought them to power.

Bashir Trial Raises Hope for Democracy in Sudan

22 Jul 2020  |  voanews.com
The article discusses the ongoing trial of former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir and his co-defendants for their role in the 1989 coup that brought Bashir to power. The trial is seen as a fulfillment of the protesters' demands for justice. Bashir faces charges of undermining the constitution and violating the Armed Forces Act. His lawyers argue that the trial is politically motivated. Sudan's transitional authorities have also committed to handing over Bashir to the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide related to the Darfur conflict. The recent surrender of a Darfur militia leader supported by Bashir has increased the likelihood of Bashir's trial at the ICC. Sudan is concurrently undergoing judicial reforms and peace talks with rebel groups, aiming to be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism to aid its economy.

Sudanese Women Welcome Freedom to Travel Abroad with Children

14 Jul 2020  |  voaafrica.com
Sudan's transitional government recently amended the Muslim Personal Law Act of 1991, allowing women to travel abroad with their children without needing the father's permission. This change was celebrated by women's rights groups and activists like Shahinaz Jamal, who see it as a significant step forward after years of struggle. The amendment is part of a series of legal reforms that also include criminalizing female genital mutilation, decriminalizing alcohol consumption for non-Muslims, and abolishing the death penalty for apostasy among Muslims. These changes come as a relief after decades of restrictive laws under the regime of ousted president Omar al-Bashir. Manya Hamid, a divorced mother, shared her personal experience of being unable to travel to the U.S. to see her dying father due to the previous law, highlighting the real-world impact of these legal restrictions.

Kushayb’s Surrender Lifts Hopes ICC Could Try Others Wanted for Darfur Crimes

11 Jun 2020  |  voanews.com
Ali Kushayb, a former militia commander in Sudan's Darfur region, has surrendered to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. His surrender has sparked hope that other suspects, including ousted president Omar al-Bashir, might also be turned over to the ICC. Bashir is wanted by the ICC for war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity, and was sentenced by a Sudanese court for corruption. Kushayb's arrest is seen as a significant step towards justice for the victims of the Darfur conflict, which resulted in over 300,000 deaths and left two million displaced. ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda emphasized the importance of ending impunity for the atrocities in Darfur to achieve lasting peace and security.

COVID-19 Diaries: Pandemic Postpones My Big, Traditional Sudanese Wedding

21 May 2020  |  voanews.com
The article discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on traditional weddings in Sudan, where large gatherings and multi-night celebrations are the norm. The author shares a personal account of having to cancel their own wedding plans due to the pandemic. The article describes the traditional wedding attire and customs, including the significance of the clothing which dates back to Nubian pharaohs. With the pandemic enforcing restrictions on large gatherings, the author's friends have opted for smaller weddings with strict adherence to health guidelines. The government is considering legislation to ban large wedding halls for a year, forcing the author and others to rethink how to celebrate their weddings without endangering loved ones.

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