Europe External Programme with Africa


No. 209 – 23 May 2022

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 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. To receive the situation report in your e-mail, click here. You can unsubscribe at any moment through the link at the bottom of each e-mail.

Situation in Tigray (per 23 May)

  • Chief Clinical Director of Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital, Dr. Kibrom Gebreselassie, says critical fuel shortage is creating serious problems at Ayder hospital in Mekelle: “Transportation for staff, generator and ambulance services are severely affected,” said Kibrom.
  • World Food Programme (WFP) Ethiopia says over 10,000 tonnes of food and critical supplies have arrived into Tigray within a week on two convoys. WFP and partners will continue to scale up deliveries and more than 100 trucks that had been in Tigray since July 2021 have been returned.
  • UNOCHA says 319 trucks of humanitarian cargo and one tanker of fuel have entered Tigray in the past week. OCHA added that since the start of April, around 15,500 metric tons of food aid have been brought into the Tigray but at least 68,000 tons more are needed to reach all those in need.
  • A statement issued by the Tigray External Affairs Office on 20 May says 4,208 Ethiopian prisoners of war were given amnesty per the promise made to the AU Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
  • “While making this decision, the Government of Tigray has done its due diligence in such a way that fighters suspected of having committed atrocities will be held accountable,” says the statement.
  • The statement also noted three justifications for giving amnesty: the vast majority of those given amnesty were captured during engagements outside Tigray, physical disabilities either due to illness or injury sustained on the battlefield and presence of numerous pregnant prisoners and those that have given birth during their stay in Tigray.
  • Further, the  government of Tigray called on the international community to press the Ethiopian government to release the thousands of Tigrayans in detention, held by the Ethiopian government.

Situation in Ethiopia (per 23 May)

  • According to the Addis Standard, the former commander of the Amhara region Special Forces, General Tefera Mamo was accused before the Amhara Region Supreme Court of forcibly attempting to dismantle the constitution.
  • Reported on social media that before his arrest, Gen. Tefera was attending a meeting organised by a senior Eritrean intelligence officer at the Eritrean Intelligence & Security Office in the Kotebe area.
  • Eritreans celebrated the 31st Eritrean independence day (May 24) in Addis Ababa on 21 May.
  • According to The Reporter, the Office of the Prime Minister is under preparation to construct a new national palace at an estimated cost of 59 billion Ethiopian birr, equivalent to USD 1 billion.
  • This project will become the second largest public project next to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which has consumed 130 billion birr – USD 2.5 billion so far.

Regional Situation (per 23 May)

  • Human Rights Watch (HRW) says U.S. decision to redeploy several hundred US troops in Somalia should make civilian protection a priority.
  • “US officials should be very clear on how their forces will avoid harming Somali civilians during military operations,” said Laetitia Bader, Horn of Africa director at HRW. Somalia’s new president, Mohamud, has welcomed the return of approximately 500 US troops to the country.
  • Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Minister Shava says Harare could extradite former Ethiopian President Mengistu: “If Ethiopia approaches Zimbabwe, appropriate steps will be taken by the Government of Zimbabwe in response to the request, to the legitimate request from the government of Ethiopia.”

International Situation (per 23 May)

  • EU’s high representative Josep Borrell spoke with H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the new President of Somalia. Borrell indicated that the EU will start a new era of cooperation with Somalia.
  • InfoMigrants report says Rwanda is receiving 50 asylum seekers from the UK. A trainee engineer, who left Sudan 6 years ago and arrived in the UK 2 weeks ago, says he wrote a will and a goodbye letter to his family after learning he would be among the first to be sent to Rwanda.
  • “I will kill myself before I go to Rwanda if the UK cannot uphold human rights.” He spent 2 years in detention in Libya where he was tortured, before making his way through Europe to Calais.
  • He added: “I am speechless, I can’t think how I feel. For which crime am I being sent to Rwanda? I am traumatised, I don’t know how to express my feelings.”
  • A US delegation on Atrocity Prevention and Response led by Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations Anne A. Witkowsky will travel to The Hague,  from May 22-25.
  • The US delegation will hold high-level talks with allies and partners regarding responses by the United States to atrocities committed in Ukraine, Burma, Ethiopia. The delegation will examine how to mitigate the drivers of the atrocity risks and review support for accountability measures and mechanisms to bring the perpetrators of atrocities to justice.

Links of interest

Statement on the Release of Prisoners of War: Government of Tigray

Ethiopia’s Tigray forces announce release of 4,000 army POWs

Twitter: WFP delivers 10,000 tonnes of food & other critical supplies in Tigray

Eritrea’s 31st Independence Day Anniversary was celebrated today in Addis Ababa

Eritreans celebrating independence day and fashion Show at Friendship Park, Addis Ababa.

Former Amhara state Special Forces commander accused of attempting to dismantle constitution

Journalists, general and militiamen arrested in the Amhara region of Ethiopia

Twitter: New national palace in Addis Ababa

Somalia: US Redeployment Should Stress Civilian Protection

New Somali President Welcomes Return of US Troops

Zimbabwe Willing to Extradite Mengistu, Vows to Investigate How Late Rwandan Fugitive Mpiranya ‘Evaded Capture for Years’

Twitter: Fuel shortage at Ayder hospital

Rwanda prepares for first transfer of asylum seekers from UK

HRVP Borrell spoke with the new President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Ukraine, Syria, Sahel, Ethiopia

U.S. delegation on atrocity prevention and response to travel to The Hague

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.