On Thursday, January 31, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir announced that Sudan was ending its year-long border closure with Eritrea and would reopen those crossings, effective immediately. The Sudanese government had shuttered its border crossings with Eritrea in early 2018 to combat alleged food and arms trafficking. Further details concerning the decision have not been released; however, a heightened security presence and travel delays are to be expected at border crossings along the Eritrean border in the coming days and weeks as the policy change is implemented.
Sudan closed the border with Eritrea, declared a state of emergency, and reinforced troop levels in Kassala and North Kordofan states in January 2018 to combat alleged food and arms trafficking originating from Eritrea. President Omar Al-Bashir has reached out to several regional partners in recent weeks as he seeks to shore up support for his regime amid growing domestic unrest and instability.
Anti-government protests broke out on December 19, 2018, as hundreds of protesters gathered in major urban centers - notably in Atbara (Nile River state), Al-Qadarif (Al-Qadarif state), Port Sudan (Red Sea state), Khartoum, as well as in the Darfur region in Al-Fasher and Nyala - initially to demand increased government transparency and the implementation of anti-inflation measures; their demands have since broadened to demand that President Omar al-Bashir, in power since 1989, step down. The government also implemented curfews and blocked social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, in late 2018 to suppress the protest movement.
Individuals traveling near the Sudanese-Eritrean border are advised to monitor developments to the situation, adhere to all instructions issued by their home government as well as those of the local authorities, and continue to anticipate transportation disruptions at border crossings.
Copyright and Disclaimer