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CrisisInSight Weekly Picks, 21 October 2021

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On 15 October, the President of Central African Republic declared a “unilateral and immediate” ceasefire and the end of military operations throughout the country. Most of the leaders of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), a coalition of armed groups formed in December 2020, have signed the agreement. If respected, the ceasefire will be a positive step towards the end of conflict in the country. A peace deal was concluded in February 2019 between the government and 14 armed groups but was broken a few months later. As at 30 September, more than 722,000 IDPs are reported in the country, with clashes between armed opposition groups and government forces and their allies continuing to cause displacement . At least 627 civilians have been killed since the start of the year, more than in all of 2020, when 106 civilian deaths were reported.Conflict has limited people’s mobility, impacting their access to fields and forests for their food and livelihoods.

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Large-scale protests have been reported since 16 October in Khartoum, accusing the civilian parts of the transitional government of mismanagement. Protests against the government have been growing since mid-September, when demonstrators blocked roads around Port Sudan and forced Red Sea ports to close. About 60% of goods arriving in the country (an average of 1,200 containers daily) pass through Port Sudan. Access to Red Sea state and main roads connecting it to other states have been blocked. The blockage has resulted in shortages of basic commodities including medicines, wheat, and fuel. Acute bread shortages have been reported in the country, and bakeries in Khartoum have closed. Some 33,000 port workers are reportedly without income during the gridlock. More protests are expected, as those supporting the civilian parts of the government are mobilising to hold counterprotests on 21 October.

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The Houthis took control of Al Abdiyah district in the south of Marib governorate on 17 October, following three weeks of intense fighting. Clashes also continue in bordering districts, and movements in and out of Al Abdiyah district are severely restricted. An estimated 35,000 people in Al Abdiyah are affected, and there are emerging reports of food and medical supplies shortages. The only hospital in the district was hit by a missile on 14 October, adding to issues around availability of and access to medical care. Ongoing hostilities in southern Marib - particularly around the main road junction in Al Jubah district - accompanied by sustained air raids, are likely to further reduce access to critical goods and services. The affected population are at increased risk of direct harm, displacement, and damage to civilian infrastructure. Humanitarian access continues to be restricted due to the lack of safety.

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