Situation Report EEPA HORN No. 4 – 20 November

Europe External Programme with Africa is a Belgium-based Centre of Expertise with in-depth knowledge, publications, and networks, specialised in issues of peace building, refugee protection and resilience in the Horn of Africa. EEPA has published extensively on issues related to movement and/or human trafficking of refugees in the Horn of Africa and on the Central Mediterranean Route. It cooperates with a wide network of Universities, research organisations, civil society and experts from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and across Africa.

Key in-depth publications can be accessed on the website.

Key information (in addition to what is already widely published)

Regional dimension (as confirmed per 20 November)

  • Somalia’s Foreign Minister was fired after issuing, then retracting, a statement about the situation in Ethiopia. The retraction was motivated by the reasoning that the statement did not represent the views of the Government of Somalia.
  • Reports have come in that several hundred Ethiopian soldiers of Trigray-origin were disarmed in Somalia by ENDF.
  • Report of Eritrean delegation visit to Egypt on 17 Nov. Egypt is a traditional ally of Eritrea. According to reports Eritrea asked support. Foreign Minister Shoukry of Egypt calls for peace and security in the region.

Military capacity (as confirmed per 20 November)

  • Bellingcat reports that the use of UAE drones from United Arab Emirates (UAE) from the harbour Assab (Eritrea) for attacks on Tigray is possible, based on research of the drones and their origin. The TPLF-leadership has made repeated claims of drone-attacks in the Tigray-region.
  • Ethiopian government soliciting funding from diaspora for a war-fund (circulating on social media).
  • Reported that TPLF is holding the defense of Alamata (Tigray region).
  • Around Shire and refugee camps (Tigray region) use of heavy tanks is reported.

Damage from the war (as confirmed per 20 November)

  • Mekelle University hit by strike by airplane; it is reported that 50 students are wounded (afternoon at 12:41 on 19 November) and pictures seen of Interim University President, Fetien Abay, visiting the students.
  • Continued fighting on Southern front with efforts to unite the Zalembesa and Rama/Mereb invasion of the Tigray region.
  • ENDF approaching Aksum. Call for protection of Aksum as a UNESCO world heritage site and important heritage of Ethiopia and Tigray.
  • Rocket attack by TPLF on Bahir Dar (Amhara region) 1:40 am 20 November.
  • Loss of life on all fronts.

Situation refugees (as confirmed per 20 November)

  • Over 33,000 refugees arrived in Sudan due to the conflict in Ethiopia, reported by UNHCR.
  • UN plans for 200.000 refugees to arrive from Ethiopia in Sudan over the next 6 months (Geneva briefing 19 November).
  • UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, says that humanitarian agencies are struggling to maintain access to Ethiopia’s Tigray Region.

Reported situation in Ethiopia and Tigray (as confirmed per 20 November)

  • Reports of profiling of Tigrayans in Ethiopia, including freezing of bank accounts, revoking of licenses, and house searches, reported on (social) media.
  • GSM mobile phone service launched in Tigray region by Tigray government (first reported 19 Nov, re-appearing in social media on 20 nov by former head Information Network Security Agency of Ethiopia, currently in Tigray) and phone contact made. Operational only in Tigray.

Press and media (as confirmed per 20 November)

 

  • Disclaimer: All information in this situation report is presented as a fluid update report, as to the best knowledge and understanding of the authors at the moment of publication. EEPA does not claim that the information is correct but verifies to the best of ability within the circumstances. Publication is weighed on the basis of interest to understand potential impacts of events (or perceptions of these) on the situation. Check all information against updates and other media. EEPA does not take responsibility for the use of the information or impact thereof. All information reported originates from third parties and the content of all reported and linked information remains the sole responsibility of these third parties. Report to info@eepa.be any additional information and corrections.

Links of interest

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/rest-of-world/2020/11/19/are-emirati-armed-drones-supporting-ethiopia-from-an-eritrean-air-base/

https://www.foreign.senate.gov/press/ranking/release/ranking-member-menendez-statement-for-the-record-on-preventing-conflict-and-supporting-democratic-transition-in-ethiopia

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/official-ethiopias-latest-airstrike-hits-tigray-university/2020/11/19/e6459b82-2a9e-11eb-9c21-3cc501d0981f_story.html?s=04

https://www.reuters.com/article/africa/idUSKBN2800FB?il=0

https://www.reuters.com/article/africa/idUSKBN28010Q?il=0

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-54985545

ttps://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/11/egypt-ethiopia-tigray-war-water-dam.html

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