Situation Report EEPA HORN No. 6 – 24 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 24 November)
- Evidence of Eritrean involvement as AFP journalist reaches Humera (Tigray) reporting that “multiple people told that during the battle they witnessed mortar bombs whistling in “from the north”, meaning Eritrea. Ethiopia’s government denies TPLF claims that Eritrea is involved in the fighting, but acknowledges making use of Eritrean territory.
- Witness of Eritrean reception camp EndabaGuna in Tigray states serious violations of rights of Eritrean refugees by members of Eritrean People Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) and Eritrean troops in civilian clothes in Tigrai joining the ongoing war on the side of Abiy, manhandling, harassing and forcefully taking them, most probably back to Eritrea. If unchecked this may spread to Adi Harush and Mai Ayni that are for now not a target of such violations.
- UNHCR is no longer in Shire (Tigray) to protect Eritrean refugees in camps.
- Eritrean refugees in Tigray are pleading for the international community to come to their rescue.
International dimension (as confirmed per 24 November)
- UN Security Council to discuss ‘Tigray’ on 24 Nov.
- Ethiopian deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mokenen to visit Brussels 24 Nov. (unc)
- European Parliament debates an urgency resolution on the situation in the Horn on Thursday 26 Nov.
- UK House of Lords to debate the situation in Ethiopia on 24. Nov.
- High Level EU engagement to support the AU High Level Envoys asked in a letter sent to EU Presidents, by 55 EU experts. EN, DE, FR, IT
- ICRC ready to act as neutral intermediary of people detained in relation to fighting in Tigray.
- US Senators Chris van Hallen and Cory A. Booker write to US Secretary Pompeo appreciating the State’s dep engagement with “the Government of Ethiopia, TPLF, neighboring countries, the African Union, and the United Nations”, and “urge” direct engagement with PM Abiy and press all parties to “an immediate ceasefire, de-escalation of tensions, protection of civilians, and commitment to addressing all outstanding grievances through a peaceful dialogue to stabilise Ethiopia’s imperiled democratic transition.” (November 19). Secr Pompeo visits the Middle East 24 Oct.
- Human Rights Watch warns that indiscriminate actions against civilians constitute war crimes.
- Genocide Watch issues Emergency Alert: the Gov of Ethiopia is ineffective in addressing ethnically motivated violence between ethnic groups.
Military capacity (as confirmed per 24 November)
- Heavy fighting on three fronts continues, mainly roads and gateways to Mekelle (Tigray capital).
- Tigray Defence Force (TDF) claim to have attacked and destroyed thousands of ENDF and Eritrean soldiers organized in 18 divisions in three fronts (namely, Adwa, Idagahamus and Ray-Mokoni.
- Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) report heavy fighting on the Raya front with one division (21). TDF claims that almost all ENDF forces are destroyed, including two tanks and one helicopter during the fighting.
Damage from the war (as confirmed per 24 November)
- AFP journalists witnessed extensive damage and deaths in Humera, Ethiopia, but were not allowed to visit the hospital to establish an official death toll.
- Picture of the severely damaged Dejena Hotel in Shire which was bombed last week circulates on social media.
Situation refugees (as confirmed per 24 November)
- UNHCR states that refugees are arriving into Sudan in Kassala, Gedaref, and more recently Blue Nile state. New sites to accommodate refugees are urgently needed. Um Raquba, a new site being used, has a capacity of 6,500 people and is expected to be full within a few days.
Reported situation in Tigray (as confirmed per 24 November)
- President Debretsion of Tigray tells AFP that people are ready to die in defense of the right to administer the Tigray region.
- Amhara administrators and civil servants are brought in in some cities under ENDF control.
- United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Ethiopia, Catherine Sozi, called for the protection of the 500.000 inhabitants of Mekelle, aid workers, as well as essential infrastructure.
- In Tigray phones are not working and aid organisations have difficulties reaching the 2 million in need of protection, food and water. Refugees and aid workers on the ground are incommunicado.
- Hospitals and primary health-care facilities in northern Ethiopia, in and around areas that have seen intense fighting, are in urgent need of medical supplies.
Reported situation in Ethiopia (as confirmed per 24 November)
- Videos on social media show Ethiopian citizens from Tigray origin being intimidated and mishandled by police and denied entry on their flights at Bole airport.
- 796 people arrested in Addis Ababa alone as of Nov. 04, since the federal government started the military operation in Tigray, in relation to “alleged plots”, says the Addis Ababa Police Commission.
- 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