Region

North Africa and the Sahel

Stories under this heading cover North Africa and the Sahel. North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. It stretches from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania to Egypt's Suez Canal and the Red Sea. The Sahel spans from the eastern shores of the African continent, starting from Sudan and continuing up to the Atlantic shores of Mauritania and Senegal.

Editor's choice
News
UN Security Council calls for an end to the siege of el-Fasher in Sudan's North Darfur province; Russia does not vote

UN Security Council calls for an end to the siege of el-Fasher in Sudan's North Darfur province; Russia does not vote

The UN Security Council, at the initiative of the United Kingdom, recently adopted a resolution on Thursday (13 June) calling for an immediate end to the siege of Al Fasher, the capital of Sudan's North Darfur state. The city, some 800 kilometres west of Khartoum, remains a key conflict zone as it is the last major western city not yet in the hands of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The RSF, a former elite unit made up of ethnic Arab militias and once part of the regime of dictator Omar Hassan al Bashir, is now led by General Mohamed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo. Daglo, a military leader and wealthy businessman from Darfur, plays a central role in the current power struggle in Sudan. The violence has killed at least 14,000 people and displaced more than 10 million others, according to UN estimates.

Filter archive

Publication date
Editor's choice
News
Biden calls Sudan violence a "betrayal", 17,000 tonnes of food aid looted

Biden calls Sudan violence a "betrayal", 17,000 tonnes of food aid looted

U.S. President Joe Biden has called the ongoing violence in Sudan an "unconscionable betrayal" in a statement made at the White House on Thursday (4 May).  The fighting, which will enter its fourth week this weekend, broke out on Saturday 15 April after the Sudanese army and a rival paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces, failed to reach an agreement over a transition to a civilian government. “The violence taking place in Sudan is a tragedy — and it is a betrayal of the Sudanese people’s clear demand for civilian government and a transition to democracy,” President Biden said. “I join the peace-loving people of Sudan and leaders around the world in calling for a durable ceasefire between the belligerent parties.” Meanwhile, also on Thursday, the U.S. state department announced that it had completed its evacuation of at least 1,300 U.S. citizens in Sudan, as well as evacuating at least 700 more from other countries. Air strikes and heavy shelling returned to the Sudanese capital city of Khartoum on Thursday as a fragile and frequently violated ceasefire lapsed.
Editor's choice
News
Air strikes hit Khartoum despite ceasefire, thousands rush to Red Sea for evacuation

Air strikes hit Khartoum despite ceasefire, thousands rush to Red Sea for evacuation

The Sudanese capital of Khartoum has been hit with air strikes despite a ceasefire that was supposed to allow civilians to flee. Fighting between the Sudanese army the a rival paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), broke out on Sunday (15 April) as talks over a transition to a civilian government broke down, and a power struggle between the army and the RSF erupted into violence. The army has said that the purpose of the air strikes was to flush out the RSF from the capital, Khartoum, reports the BBC. More than 500 people are confirmed to have been killed in the fighting, with the true number likely much higher. Over the past week, there have been reports of increasing food and water shortages in Khartoum as residents were unable to go outside having been warned against doing so. Despite attempts at enabling civilians to evacuate, millions are believed to still be stuck inside the capital. Last week, many countries evacuated diplomats and civilians from Sudan, including the US, European countries, and many GCC countries. The BBC also reports that aid has begun to arrive in the country, with an International Red Cross flight arriving in the country yesterday, on Sunday (30 April), in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan. 
Editor's choice
Editorial
Editorial: Sudan put the “new era of peace” in the Middle East to an early test

Editorial: Sudan put the “new era of peace” in the Middle East to an early test

The processes that have been taking place in the Gulf region and the wider Middle East over the last year - which healed the schism within the GCC, reconciled Turkey with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, started the process of bringing back Syria within the Arab fold, and, even more dramatically, started the process of reconciling Saudi Arabia and Iran - appeared in recent days to have even reached Yemen, when the exchange of large numbers of prisoners during the Ramadan month, and the meetings between Saudi officials and the Houthi leadership, augured well for that painful conflict to be also finally resolved. Yet, just as pundits hailed a new era of peace in the Middle East, Sudan erupted into a civil war that has already claimed hundreds of lives, and potentially can be hugely devastating.
Editor's choice
News
Ceasefire holds in Sudan after over 400 killed

Ceasefire holds in Sudan after over 400 killed

A ceasefire agreed between the Sudanese military and a rival paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), appears to be holding after taking effect at midnight on Tuesday (25 April). It is the fourth attempt at a ceasefire between the warring parties since a power struggle erupted into violence on Sunday (15 April), with previous truces since then having failed. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the 72-hour truce had been agreed between the army and the RSF after 48 hours of negotiations. At least 400 people have been killed by the fighting over the past 10 days. United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has warned the violence in Sudan risks causing a "catastrophic conflagration" that could spread to the rest of the region, and beyond. Meanwhile, over the weekend and on Monday countries began evacuating diplomatic staff and foreign nationals from Sudan, including the US, Argentina, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, as well as many Gulf countries.
Editor's choice
News
Diplomats and foreign nationals evacuated from Sudan as fighting rages

Diplomats and foreign nationals evacuated from Sudan as fighting rages

Countries have begun evacuating their diplomats and nationals from the Sudanese capital of Khartoum as fighting between the army and a rival paramilitary group continues to rage after a power struggle erupted into violence on Sunday (15 April). The United Kingdom and the United States announced on Sunday (22 April) that they had evacuated their respective diplomats, as had France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The US embassy in Khartoum is now closed, while a tweet on their official feed has said that it is no longer safe to evacuate private US citizens. Meanwhile the UK Foreign Minister James Cleverly said options to evacuate the remaining British nationals in Sudan were "severely limited". The French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that a plane carrying both French and Dutch citizens had arrived in Djibouti on Sunday, while another evacuation took place on Monday, taking the number of people evacuated so far to 388. The German army has said that the first of three planes had left Sudan bound for Jordan, with 101 people on board.
Editor's choice
News
Explosions and gunfire rock Khartoum as who controls Sudan is unclear

Explosions and gunfire rock Khartoum as who controls Sudan is unclear

Sudan is entering its third day of fighting after tensions between leaders of Sudan's army and a rival paramilitary group the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) erupted into violence in the capital, Khartoum, on Saturday (15 April). According to the Sudanese doctors' union, at least 100 civilians have died during the violence despite a temporary ceasefire observed on Sunday to allow the wounded to be evacuated. Violence erupted in the capital city of Khartoum on Saturday after the army and a rival paramilitary group failed to reach an agreement concerning the transfer to civilian rule of the country. Since a coup in October 2021, Sudan has been run by a council of generals, and two military men at the centre of the dispute. On the one hand, there is General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who is the head of the armed forces and in effect the country's president, and on the other is his deputy and leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti. The violence has led to international calls for peace to be restored. The former Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi said, "the army must go back to the barracks and civilians must rule for a transitional period for a short time, then move to free and fair elections."
Editor's choice
News
Jihadists abduct fifty women in Burkina Faso

Jihadists abduct fifty women in Burkina Faso

Some 50 women have been abducted by suspected jihadists in northern Burkina Faso, local officials say. Residents in Arbinda said two groups of women were taken as they were out gathering leaves and wild fruits because of a severe food shortage. A small number managed to escape and raise the alarm. The abductions happened on Thursday and Friday, but news has just emerged, as much of the area has been blockaded by Islamist militants. Arbinda in the Sahel region has been hit hard by the jihadist insurgency. Roads in and out have been blocked by the jihadists, there is severe hunger as food supplies are limited, and the humanitarian situation is desperate. Last month, protesters in Arbinda broke into warehouses to get food and supplies. Burkina Faso as a whole has been hit by a decade-long insurgency that has displaced nearly two million people. The military seized power last January, promising an end to attacks, but the violence still rages.