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. The situation reports can be found here.

Reported war situation (as confirmed per 01 February)

  • Heavy fighting going on between Tigray regional Forces and Ethiopian/Eritrean forces in areas between Semema and Edaga Berhe. It is reported that the Tigray Regional Forces have burned nine armoured vehicles.  The source of this information are commanders  of Tigray Regional Forces in that battlefield.
  • Another active fighting at the moment is at Wukro Maray, 15 kms West of Aksum. The other side at this front is dominated by Eritrean Forces. Tigray Regional Forces is selectively fighting the huge force that came in this second campaign of combined Ethiopian and Eritrean forces.
  • Reported ambush on ENDF allied forces convoy at Wukro Maray town, near Shire, by Tigray regional forces. Meanwhile heavy fighting is reported for the third consecutive day in the Kola Tembien area.
  • Reports from TMH states that a Tigrayan businessman named Yibrah Teame was allegedly murdered in the Bademe area by Eritrean troops.
  • Reported in direct communication with the political and military TPLF leadership that there are regular contacts with Dr. Debretsion, who is leading political mobilization and military operations.
  • Sadistic perpetration of sexual violence reported. Report received that a girl from Abyi Adi was shot 4 times on her hands by a soldier who first went into their home asking where ‘woyane’ (a derogatory term for people in Tigray) is. Her father, a blind man, responded they didn’t know and he was ordered to rape his own child. He was taken into another room and beaten by another soldier after he strongly refused. The girl was then asked ‘lawtash’. (This is an offensive term widely used referring to sexual intercourse in the context of violence or rape). When she refused, he fired a shot wounding her left hand small finger and then followed it with three shots on her right arm leaving her now amputated.
  • Reported that a girl from Abyi Adi was presented to the emergency room at Ayder Hospital after being raped and then shot on her thighs multiple times by ENDF soldiers.
  • Report received on another girl from Abyi Adi was raped by an ENDF soldier who asked her to go and buy him cigarettes. As she went, he followed her and asked her to sleep with him using the term ‘lawtash’. When she refused, he hit her leaving her behind unconsciously. It is reported that “She was lucky enough to be brought to Ayder and provided with care unlike many other girls.”  
  • Photos received with houses completely destroyed by heavy artillery in Mekelle.
  • An overview of health facilities paints a dire picture. In general, health facility services including maternity and emergency services were shut down across the Tigray region. The life saving essential services including those who had follow up cases are deprived, for example in Hawzen, Fatsi, H/Selam primary hospitals, Abiy adi, Adwa and Wukro hospitals and other sites, as a result of this both home and facility deaths are alarmingly increasing.
  • Almost all health facilities found in Central, Eastern, North West and western zones of Tigray are still not functional. Medical equipment and medications were stolen; doors and windows of hospital and clinic rooms were broken.
  • Photos received of ambulances destroyed in the war in Tigray. Pictures received and circulating in social media shows that Wukro Maray primary hospital and Selekleka hospital has been heavily looted and destroyed by ENDF allied forces and Eritrean troops.
  • Original audio recording received of the meeting that was held at Mekelle University between staff and the interim Tigray government head, Dr. Mulu Nega. In this meeting he said the Ethiopian government does not have the capacity to get the Eritrean soldiers out of Tigray.  In this meeting and recordings, many questions were raised by describing the levels of damage that the war has brought to the people of Tigray and its institutions.
  • In its press statement the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) party calls for an independent investigation into the Mai Kadra massacre.

Reported Regional situation (as confirmed per 01 February)

  • The Sudan army has sent military reinforcements to the border with Ethiopia after three merchants were Kidnapped by militants.
  • According to Sudan Tribune, Sudanese protesters closed the Gallabat land border crossing with Ethiopia after three merchants were kidnapped by a militia, demanding their immediate release as the national army deployed reinforcements to the area.
  • On Saturday, the Ethiopian ‘Shifta’ militia infiltrated the Sudanese border at a depth of seven km and kidnapped three merchants, prompting the Sudanese army to send additional military reinforcements to the area.

Reported International situation (as confirmed per 01 February)

  • Tsedale Lemma, Editor in chief of Addis Standard, spoke with the U.S. Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and laid out key areas where the US Foreign Policy should prioritize its engagement with Ethiopia with regards to the ongoing armed conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia’s upcoming elections and instability in other parts of the country.
  • With regard to the ongoing conflict in Tigray, Tsedale recommended the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces; immediate and binding cessation of hostilities by all parties involved in the conflict; immediate distribution of humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable and the U.S. should also push for a UN mandated, politically insulated independent investigation into the atrocities committed in Tigray. 
  • The Finish minister of Foreign Affairs is planning on going to Ethiopia and other countries in the region in the coming weeks. The EU is concerned about the situation and the rising tensions.
  • The Norwegian Refugee Council has announced that a staff member has been killed in Mogadishu, Somalia.
  • “Ethiopia’s military and government stands accused of purposeful ethnic cleansing, a precursor to all-out genocide,” writes World Peace Foundation (WPF) president Emeritus Robert Rotberg about the war in Tigray.
  • Ethiopia issues press release on its strategy concerning debt repayments and rescheduling. The Financial Times (FT) reports that Ethiopia has asked donor countries for debt relief as covid takes a toll.
  • Earlier on Nov. 30, the Office of the Prime Minister-Ethiopia tweeted that, “Ethiopia is a country that knows diplomacy. It’s a founding member of the UN and AU. My message to friends of Ethiopia is that we may be poor but we are not a country that will negotiate our sovereignty. Threatening Ethiopia for coins will not work”.
  • “There are 2.3 million people in need of lifesaving assistance in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Humanitarian aid is available, but access has been extremely limited”, said Amnesty International.

Disclaimer: All information in this situation report is presented as a fluid update report, as to the best know/,ledge 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