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 27 November)

  • The organisation Arbi Harnet publishes they have evidence that Eritreans held in forced and indefinite national service have been taken to Tigray war fronts in Ethiopian uniforms.
  • Arbi Harnet quotes a witness stating that Eritreans who were demobilised from national service as they were “unfit” are called back because “there is such a shortage of soldiers”.
  • Tigray outlet DW presents videos of Eritrean soldiers captured by TPLF. Daniel (18) was sent by officers to do labour but found himself as a soldier to fight in border town Bademe. In the video Eritrean soldiers state they should not be involved but had no choice as they were in the first line of fire.
  • Eritrean Bishops urge peace: “Once a war starts, no one knows when and where it ends,” they said, noting that “all the parties are losers and there is no winner. (..) war does not have any meaningful value, and is always unjust.”

International dimension (as confirmed per 27 November)

  • The African Union Envoys traveled for Ethiopia hours before the ultimatum was to expire.
  • The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, has expressed “his concern at the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia (..) and offers his support to those efforts by friends of Ethiopia from the African Union region and from beyond, to help bring about a speedy cessation of hostilities and to find a sustainable way forward.”
  • The EU Commissioner for Crisis management, Janez Lenarčič, met with the Ethiopian Deputy Prime minister, Demeke Mekonnen, and urged that a political solution including all parties is needed and that humanitarian access must be guaranteed.  Lenarčič stated he will travel to Sudan to meet with refugees.
  • The European Parliament adopted resolution RC9-0383/2020 which calls on “both parties to commit to an immediate ceasefire and to settle political differences by democratic means within the framework of the country’s constitution.”
  • Member of European Parliament, Assita Kanko, calls on the EU to stop all aid to Ethiopia.
  • Coverage on social media that Ethiopian troops are stopping refugees fleeing into Sudan.

Military capacity (as confirmed per 27 November)

  • The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, has announced that the Ethiopian National Defence Force will launch the final offensive.
  • The Tigray People’s Liberation Front told Reuters they are fighting 16 divisions of the Eritrean army.

Situation refugees (as confirmed per 27 November)

  • Reports, including from refugees in Sudan,  suggest that Ethiopia deployed soldiers to the border to stop  refugees from crossing into Sudan and numbers of arrivals have decreased.
  • PM Aiby announced that a humanitarian access route managed by the Ethiopian government will be opened and that the government has begun distribution of basic supplies.
  • Coverage on social media that the number of refugees arriving in East Sudan is dropping (due to blocks at the border).

Reported situation in Tigray (as confirmed per 27 November)

  • UN reports critical shortages in Tigray. Food supply for 100.000 Eritrean refugees in Tigray will be gone in a week. 600.000 people requiring food aid remain without food.
  • 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 any additional information and corrections.

Links of interest