Source: EEPA

Situation Report EEPA HORN No. 19 – 08 December

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)

International dimension (as confirmed per 08 Dec)

  • A UN security team trying to visit the Shimelba refugee camp in Tigray, where refugees are located under international protection, was denied access and shot at and briefly detained. The situation around the camps is unsafe.
  • UN staff in Mekelle reportedly harassed by security forces.
  • The UN secretary-general,  Antonio Guterres, has engaged in “an active dialogue” with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, including a phone conversation on Monday, and “is very concerned about the current situation.”
  • Protest against the war planned in front of the Houses of Parliament in the UK for today (8 Dec.)
  • The European Council has adopted a resolution to impose targeted sanctions on people and entities responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and other serious abuses such as torture and slavery, extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detention.
  • Ethiopian PM Aby Ahmed is meeting his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, to inspect construction of the new Lamu port, an anchor project of the Lapsset infrastructural undertaking, against the backdrop of recent border tensions.
  • South African President and AU Chairperson Ramaphosa discusses the conflict of the Ethiopian Tigray region among African Peace challenges to the ANC National Executive Committee.
  • Confirmation from Asmara that it is flooded with cars, university equipment, lab equipment, pharmaceutical equipment and equipment from factories, including a textile factory, and food, brought from Tigray as loot by the Eritrean military.
  • Editor of Addis Standard, Tsedale Lemma, questions the background and legitimacy of the peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea which was not approved by the Ethiopian parliament.

Regional dimension (as confirmed per 08 Dec)

  • Launched in 2012, Lapsset will also include an oil pipeline that will run from the Kenyan Port of Lamu to Addis Ababa, as part of infrastructure projects to improve connectivity and bilateral trade.
  • Al Fashaga triangle disputed Sudan-Ethiopian border and farmlands, occupied by Sudanes army.

Military situation (as confirmed per 08 Dec)

  • Report of fighting between Tigray Defence Forces and Ethio-Eritrean joint forces for the past 3 days near a small town called Werk Amba, north west of Abi Addi, one of the major towns in Tigray. 
  • Reported on social media that UAE drones bombed civilian locations in Abi Addi indiscriminately.

Human Rights (as confirmed per 08 Dec)

  • Tigray doctor states in a text message that they are working with a severe lack of basic equipment, including lack of light, fuel, food, gloves and antibiotics. Their ambulance was taken by soldiers.
  • A doctor arriving in Mekelle has stated that at least 27 people have died, including a 4 year old child.

Situation in Ethiopia (as confirmed per 08 Dec)

  • Radio Erena reported that over 4,000 Eritrean refugees have left their camps in Tigray and are moving towards other Ethiopian regions after repeated attacks by militias.
  • PM Abiy Ahmed has visited a hospital with ENDF wounded forces.
  • Parents from students in Mekelle University worry about the fate of their children from whom they have received no news due to the lockdown.

Situation in Tigray (as confirmed per 08 Dec)

  • Ethiopian and Eritrean troops plan a massive door-to-door operation in Mekelle in the coming days to assert control.
  • Deputy VC of Mekelle University asks universities for support to a call for cease-fire and to rapidly organise efficient humanitarian aid to Tigray after the university was bombed by Ethiopian air force.
  • A hate campaign is being organised against faculty staff of the university of Mekelle. This is primarily being conducted by Amhara Mass Media and through facebook.
  • Reported that thousands of refugees are sheltering in TPLF held areas.
  • Internet and telecommunication lines are still down in Tigray region despite it being 10 days since the government has declared victory.
  • Elected leader of Tigray region, Debretsion, states Eritrean forces took  part in mass lootings: “They have taken laboratory equipment, computers, books. They have gone to one factory of medicine”.
  • Many obstacles in the way of providing aid and relief to the region. Looting and lawlessness has made it too dangerous to dispatch convoys according to officials. Reportedly a convoy was stopped at the Tigrayan border.
  • There is a critical lack of supplies in the whole region. Officials report that in Shire, people were turned away as there was nothing to give.
  • Humanitarian aid workers affected by the shortages of supplies in Mekelle.
  • Shortages of basic commodities, including food, water, fuel and cash reported in Mekelle.

Situation refugees (as confirmed per 08 Dec)

  • France provides €1 million for humanitarian aid to refugees in Sudan.

■ 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://apnews.com/article/antonio-guterres-abiy-ahmed-ethiopia-united-nations-us-news-9cb7f924edc030aa321a522ca07e3aaa

https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/noon-briefing-highlight

https://africanarguments.org/2020/12/04/eritreas-role-in-ethiopias-conflict-and-the-fate-of-eritrean-refugees-in-ethiopia/

https://www.politico.eu/article/ethiopia-must-open-aid-access-to-conflict-region-says-eu-crisis-commissioner/

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/12/04/africa/ethiopia-war-tplf-exclusive-intl/index.html

https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/sudan-s-army-regains-control-of-border-region-after-25-years