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.

Reported situation in Tigray (per 07 July)

  • New reports received that Eritrean soldiers had already been deployed to Tigray before the beginning of the war on 3/4 November 2020.
  • This corroborates once again observations that the war was planned by Ethiopia and Eritrea.
  • A video has been received that shows the hand-over of artillery between Ethiopian Northern command troops and Eritrean troops on 5th November 2020 in North Eritrea near the border with Ethiopia.
  • A number of cargo flights from Ethiopia Airlines between Addis Ababa, Asmara (Eritrea) and several destinations inside Ethiopia and Eritrea have been identified, believed to have transported weapons in November and December 2020 as part of the war effort of the two countries against Tigray.

Reports on the conflict in Tigray

  • In a new report, co-authored by Eritrea Focus, British Journalist Martin Plaut, and Norwegian African Specialist Kjetil Tronvoll, the implications of the conflict in Tigray on Ethiopia and the wider Horn region are being analysed.
  • The 250 page report, covers many aspects of the conflict in Tigray, including the start, the duration of the fighting, and inter-Ethiopian politics. It also thoroughly explains the situation following the change in government in 2018, and covers the TPLF – Prosperity Party divide.
  • The report further details how the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) defeated the Ethiopian (ENDF) and Eritrean (EDF) forces. According to the report, the ENDF became increasingly reliant on its Eritrean ally as the conflict went on. The mass eviction of Tigrayan troops and officers from the ENDF, plus the large scale and bloody advance the ENDF was using to wipe out the Tigrayans quickly led to a significant loss of experience and leadership capacity. Moreover, the increase in violence elsewhere in Ethiopia led to a vastly over-stretched ENDF. This led to the TDF increasingly facing Eritreans in Tigray.
  • The Report also covers the complicated inter regional relations going on in Ethiopia. It details how in many regions, such as Ethiopian Somaliland, there is an internal debate going on about whether they should support the Tigrayans or not.
  • According to the report, the majority of Oromo Prosperity Party leaders come from the region close to Addis Ababa, and identify more closely with the “modern Ethiopian State centre”. The rest of Oromia is much more divided. It is unclear how big the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) is, however there are signs that they have increased their social Media presence.
  • Lastly the reports goes into great detail about how the Eritrean and Ethiopian armies have been systematically using hunger, looting, and sexual violence not only as a tactic, but also a weapon of war.
  • It states that if aid and supplies continued to be hindered, “a famine far exceeding the devastation of the 1984-85 famine could indeed occur in the coming months”.
  • The Atlas of the Humanitarian situation in Ethiopia and Tigray, a project by a team from the university of Ghent, has been updated. Several sections have been updated to account for some dramatic changes in circumstances. These include maps 2, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, and 20.

Situation in Ethiopia (per 07 July)

  • The House of People Representatives in Ethiopia is raising concerns regarding the costs of the war in Tigray with costs estimated around 1 billion US $, impacting on the next year’s budget and the debt rescheduling of the country.
  • The Prime Minister told the House that Ethiopia will be closing at least 30 embassies, and recalling dozens of diplomats. This includes the embassy in Ethiopia in Nairobi. These measures are being taken to cut down on costs.
  • According to reports, the arbitrary detention and arrests of Tigrayans is continuing across Ethiopia. Reportedly they are being held in harsh conditions, held like packed conditions, and beaten.
  • Reportedly, several Ethiopian regional administrations have refused to arrest and harass Tigrayans.
  • Reported that Genet Read, the younger sister of Getachaw Reda, spokesman for the Government of Tigray was abducted by Ethiopian forces from her home in Addis Ababa.
  • Genet Read was not politically active. The abduction appears to be a punishment by association, a tactic widely used in Eritrea.
  • Members of the interim Administration of Tigray who fled to Addis Ababa with the Ethiopian Defense forces told Deutsche Welle (DW) that they are in trouble.
  • They also told DW that they were brought to Addis Ababa and accommodated in various hotels.
  • The members added that they are now in a dire situation and said they are in the clothes they wore when they came to Addis Ababa and had been told to leave the hotels.

International Situation (per 07 July)

  • EEPA is holding a Webinar on Voices From Tigray: “Hunger For Peace, Hunger For Justice” on 13th July at 14:00-16:00 EAT, 13:00-15:00 CET, 07.00-09.00 U.S East. You can register here for the webinar:

■ 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