The African Union must act now to avoid further loss of life in Sudan

60 years into Africa’s unity, the African Union cannot afford to sit back and watch conflict harm and affect the lives of Africans again and again. Silencing the guns and taking decisive action against autocracy, to protect African lives must be the clarion call for 21st Century Pan Africanism.
Achieng Akena, Executive Director International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI)

We, Africans for the Horn of Africa (Af4HA) Initiative are gravely concerned about the developing
situation in Sudan. Since the outbreak of conflict between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid
Support Forces (RSF) on 15 April 2023, has already claimed more than 50 Sudanese lives and seen
several thousand injured. The two generals who lead the two factions, Gen Abdul Fattah Al Burhan
and Gen Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (alias Hemedti) usurped the will of the Sudanese people by
toppling a transitional government that was working on moving the country from autocracy to a
democratic government following civilian protests in 2019. This latest conflict between the two
armed factions does not represent the will of the people, who continue to put their lives at risk in
calling for a return to democratic civilian rule.

The African Union must take immediate action to secure a cessation of hostilities, protect
Sudanese civilians and find a permanent resolution to the long drawn-out conflict. Failure to do so
demonstrates serious disregard for the AU Constitutive Act and the Peace and Security Protocol
which proffer a responsibility on the AU to do so.

We commend the emergency meetings of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the
Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), convened in solidarity with the people
of Sudan, and urge both bodies to quickly and efficiently deploy their vast assets to diffuse the crisis.

We call on the AU to take decisive and appropriate action, bearing in mind that the two Generals
continue to act with impunity, refusing to return the country to civilian rule which led to the
suspension of Sudan from the AU. To date, there is nothing in the behaviour of the actors that
indicates willingness to abide by any such agreement and plan and this cannot continue to be ignored
by all stakeholders and guarantors of Sudan’s peace and transitional processes.

“The AU has a varied toolkit for responding to atrocity situations, in addition to its experiences in dealing with active hostilities. AU Member States must invest all their financial, diplomatic, political and influential resources in keeping Africans safe and well.” Dismas Nkunda, Executive Director, Atrocities Watch Africa (AWA)

We also urge the Member States of IGAD, within the principle of subsidiarity, to actively engage
and impress upon on General Burhan and Hemedti in Sudan to immediately cease hostilities and
continue with the process to return Sudan back to democratic governance. IGAD Member States
should continue to be engaged in the process and act as guarantors and custodians of democratic
rule in the country.

We note with grave concern, the knock-on effect of instability and fighting in Sudan on
neighbouring countries and other regions including the rest of the Horn, East and Central Africa and
the Lake Chad Basin. The mix of volatility from active armed conflict, criminal networks, climate
insecurity and political uncertainty in these countries and Sudan, bode doom for civilians across
several borders. The continent and the world are not prepared for such an eventuality. Decisive
action must be taken now.

We call on the international community to focus their assets and resources on ensuring the
cessation of hostilities and the protection of civilians.

Given the fragility of the Horn of Africa region, it is critical that all actors remain seized of all the
peace and security threats in the region, and apply robust whole-of-region approaches to peace and
security interventions. A piecemeal approach focussing on only one conflict can allow other conflicts
to simmer and escalate, and overwhelm the peace and security response machinery.
In the coming days Af4HA Initiative will convene wider discussions and consultations amongst
African citizens regarding the situation in Sudan. Visit us on Twitter @Af4HA for updates.

For further information please contact Achieng Akena at or Dismas Nkunda