The Blue Nile region is situated in the south-eastern part of Sudan, bordering Ethiopia and South Sudan. In September 2011, fighting erupted between Government forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation MovementNorth (SPLM-N), three months after conflict had resumed in South Kordofan. In 2017, the SPLA/M-N split into two factions over disagreements on the direction of the movement, leading to violence between Malik Agar and Abdelaziz Al Hilu followers. Each faction controls territory in southern Blue Nile, with the Abdelaziz Al Hilu faction controlling a much larger territory. The political landscape significantly changed following the establishment of the Transitional Government in August 2019. The Juba Peace Agreement of October 2020, of which SPLM-N Malik Agar is a signatory, makes Blue Nile an autonomous region. SPLM-N Malik Agar continues leading the Blue Nile government after the military coup of 25 October 2021 with SPLM-N Al Hilu controlling territory in the southern part of the state.
The conflict in Tigray, issues around the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and militarization in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz Region led to the closure of the borders between Blue Nile and Ethiopia. This has affected cross-border trade, the exchange of supplies and farming activities, and increased vulnerabilities of people living near the borders on both sides. It has also negatively impacted the movement of refugee returnees from Ethiopia to Sudan.
Displacement, food insecurity and natural disasters are the key drivers of humanitarian needs, compounded by the economic hardship and inadequate basic services such as WASH, health, nutrition and education. The displaced population in Blue Nile region live with host communities and in the Government-established five IDP settlements. Aid organisations report a deteriorating humanitarian situation, particularly in nongovernment-controlled areas in southern Kurmuk and Geisan localities. Conflict in the region has impacted both livelihoods and the availability of basic services such as education and health care.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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