Situation Report EEPA HORN No. 5 – 22 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 information (in addition to what is already widely published)
Regional dimension (as confirmed per 22 November)
- The African Union appointed an envoy to mediate in the conflict in Ethiopia, consisting of Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique; Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former president of Liberia; and Kgalema Motlanthe, former president of South Africa.
- Reports that injured Ethiopian soldiers as well as Prisoners of War from Tigray are taken to Eritrea.
- Reports that members of the Eritrean opposition, along with Tigrayans, are facing ethnic profiling including house searches and arrests in Addis Ababa.
- H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the UAE, urges Ethiopian parties to return to dialogue.
- The Eritrean Catholic and Orthodox Churches sent out statements calling for peace.
Military capacity (as confirmed per 22 November)
- ENDF Military spokesman Colonel Dejene Tsegaye warns civilians that Mekelle is surrounded with tanks and that civilians have 72 hours to surrender. Mekelle has half a million inhabitants and approximately 800 students at Mekelle University campus with students from Ethiopia and abroad.
- Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed gives Tigrayan regional forces 72 hours to surrender before the military begins an offensive on the regional capital of Mekelle.
Damage from the war (as confirmed per 22 November)
- Human Rights Watch calls the threat by Ethiopian military spokesperson of an artillery attack to citizens in Mekelle who do not surrender unlawful and targeting the whole city together a collective punishment; US Ambassador Susan Rice qualifies this as war crime.
- Fighting in the Tigray region is ongoing on three fronts, Adwa, Gerhu Sirnay and in the South (Raya). Heavy losses reported.
- It is reported that possibly up to 20 battalions of the Eritrean Defence Force (EDF) are taking part in the fighting on all three fronts.
- PM Abiy issued a statement saying that the ENDF holds Dansha, Humera, Shire, Dhiraro, Aksum, Adwa, Adigrat, Alamata, Chercher, Mehoni, Korem and other places. According to the TPLF, the Ethiopian, Eritrean and Amharic forces are moving through these cities but are not holding all of them.
Situation refugees (as confirmed per 22 November)
- The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warns refugees in Tigray risk lack of water due to fuel shortage for the water pumps.
- Close to 40,000 refugees have arrived in Sudan. The refugees give testimonies of extreme violence used in the conflict, including against civilians.
Reported situation in Tigray (as confirmed per 22 November)
- All bank accounts in the Tigray region have reportedly been frozen.
- UN OCHA estimates that over 2 million people will need food assistance in Tigray.
Press and media (as confirmed per 22 November)
- Journalists indicate that access to Tigray is nearly impossible and that foreigners risk hostilities and violence if they go. Access to and operating in Addis Ababa is also becoming increasingly difficult with difficulties experienced in obtaining visas.
- International Crisis Group journalist and expert Davison confirms from his home that his working permit in Ethiopia was revoked and that he was informed he immediately had to leave the country.
- South Sudanese activists indicate that they were summoned to the Ethiopian embassy in South Sudan to answer questions regarding a statement in which they expressed concern over possible withdrawal of Ethiopian peacekeeping troops.
- Spokesperson Ethiopia Federal: Billene Seyoum (https://twitter.com/BilleneSeyoum)
- Spokesperson Tigray: Getachew Reda (https://twitter.com/reda_getachew)
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org any additional information and corrections.
Links of interest