Europe External Programme with Africa is a Belgium-based Centre of Expertise with in-depth knowledge, publications, and networks, specialised in issues of peacebuilding, refugee protection, and resilience in the Horn of Africa. EEPA has published extensively on issues related to the 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 organizations, civil society, and experts from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, and across Africa. The situation reports can be found here.

Chemical weapons and heavy artillery sent into Tigray for ‘final’ offensive (per 12 June)

  • Three independent reports confirm that chemical weapons arrived in Mekelle. According to new information received tonight from a new source, 42 tons of chemical weapons have arrived on Mekelle through Djibouti.
  • The chemical weapons arrived in Mekelle from Addis Abeba on flight ET3160 ETAUQ on June 5, B789 departing from Addis Abeba at 08:22. The plane is reported to have delivered a phosphorus chemical. The carrying capacity of the plane is 51 tons.
  • Situation Report published in SR 163 that: “40 tons of Phosphorus chemicals have arrived in Mekelle Airport on 06 June 2021  based  on  internal  sources.  This  appears  part of  the  preparation  for  what  is  called  the “final” war.” It is reported that drones may be used to deploy the chemical weapons.
  • Also, heavy artillery has arrived in Djibouti with Ethiopia as the destination. The artillery and chemical weapons would have been possibly purchased in Russia, Ukraine, and China.
  • It is reported that many airplanes are circling tonight over the city of Mekelle.
  • Sources in Tigray report that over 130 military vehicles passed through the town of Wuqro in the direction of Adigrat, to prepare for the next offensive. Rumors say that this ‘last’ offensive will be “very heavy”. This was reported on 12 June 2021.
  • Assena TV reported that ENDF moved heavy artillery from various directions into Tigray on Friday 11 June 2021 for the ‘final’ offensive. More than 271 buses full of Fano Amhara forces and ENDF entered to Shire and Axum via Endabaguna.
  • Assena TV further reported that 180 military vehicles of ENDF moved to Mekelle from around Tembien and went to the direction of Wukro. 14 of them were carrying heavy artillery.
  • The 180 vehicles went towards Maymekden and Wukro direction to deceive the public and later returned to Mekelle via Qwha. Another ENDF force moved from Hawzen to Mekelle and in replacement other ENDF forces were sent to Hawzen.
  • Another ENDF force has entered Tigray with 18 orals/vehicles and now they are in Agula camp after traveling from Negelle Borona zone of the Oromia region.

Heavy Eritrean Deployment in Oromia (per 12 June)

  • According to the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), there was heavy fighting between Eritrean forces and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) in the West Shewa Zone of Gindebarat district on 11 June 2021.
  • The report said: “Our information from tangible sources shows that more than two divisions of Eritrean armies estimated to 30,000 Eritrean soldiers had been recently deployed to Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz from different directions.”
  • The OLF also said the new large-scale deployment of Eritrean soldiers in the Oromia and Benishangul-Gumz regions is proving a devastating level of conflict and state failure.
  • OLF added despite continuous diplomatic engagements of the international community and serious concerns of genuine political parties and fear of Ethiopian peoples, the Eritrean regime has continued deploying its troops in various parts of the country.
  • “Since the beginning of April 2021, heavily armed Battalions of Eritrean soldiers together with Amhara militias and ENDF had been deployed to Oromia zones of Borana, Gujii, Wollo, Horo Guduru, Qellam Wallaga, West Wallaga, Shashamane, and Metekel Zones for military operation in various parts of Oromia and Benishangul Gumuz regions,” said OLF.

International situation (per 12 June)

  • The UN warned that tens of thousands of children are at risk of dying from famine in the Tigray region.
  • UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said: “Without humanitarian access to increase our aid, some 30,000 severely malnourished children in these extremely inaccessible areas are at great risk of dying.”
  • The Ethiopian government has sent a group of Ethiopian women ministers to several European countries among them Portugal to counter the information that there is widespread conflict-related sexual violence against women in Tigray.

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. The publication is weighed on the basis of interest to understand the 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 the 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.