No. 211 – 25 May 2022

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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.

  • Due to the Ascension Day holiday, the next edition of the  Situation Report will be published on Monday 30 May, unless there is urgent breaking news.

Situation in Tigray (per 25 May)

  • Tigrai Media House (TMH) says an investigation conducted recently revealed that around 160 women were raped by Eritrean troops in Seharti Woreda of Eastern Zone of Tigray in a single day back on 5 April 2021. A religious celebration was taking place on that day.
  • Survivors and victims told the media that Eritrean troops had committed horrendous crimes including murder, gang rape and mass executions in the Woreda district during their stay.
  • The Guardian is reporting that Ayder Referral hospital in Tigray is using expired medication and paracetamol to treat terminally ill cancer patients. According to one doctor, the hospital only has 16% of the medication it needs. In a letter doctors said cancer care was “almost nonexistent”.
  • The lack of medicine, and especially treatments for cancer, HIV, and diabetes, has been reported for months. Although the humanitarian blockade on Tigray has been easing in recent weeks,   doctors told The Guardian that cancer treatments continue to be stopped due to the lack of medicine.  As a result patients were being sent home.
  • The ICRC has said that a 5th convoy has arrived in Tigray. It carries medical, food, and water treatment  supplies.

Situation in Eritrea (per 25 May)

  • The Eritrean ministry of information said that India, the Russian Federation, China, Switzerland as well as the Netherlands and Italy have sent messages of congratulations for the 31st Eritrean independence day celebrated on 24 May. No congratulations to Eritrea were reported from  Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed, leading to speculation of a rift between the two countries.
  • Sources speculate that the rift between Eritrea and Ethiopia may be caused by the Ethiopian federal government’s crackdown on the FANO militia in Amhara, which is allied to Eritrea. The crackdown includes the arrest of FANO leader Tefera Mamo last week.
  • Eritrean refugees currently in the Amhara region are preparing for a potential conflict between the Ethiopian federal government and FANO. Refugees are preparing to escape. A source notes that human smugglers [and human traffickers] could take advantage of such situations.

Situation in Ethiopia (per 25 May)

  • An Addis Standard report says the senior leader of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Colonel Gemechu Ayana, was released from custody today after nearly 2 years in detention.
  • Time magazine has included PM Abiy in the latest list of 100 most influential people and said Mr Abiy’s peace treaty with Eritrea “planted the seeds for an Ethiopian civil war.” Time Magazine also said that he worked with Eritrean leader Isayas Afwerki to launch an invasion of Tigray.
  • According to the BBC, Ethiopia is not happy with the way the US Time magazine depicted Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in its list of influential people of the year 2022.
  • A source notes that in Addis Ababa, tensions are rising between Oromo and Amhara populations.
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says that since 19 May, 11 employees of 4 independent media outlets have been arrested by Ethiopian authorities. The journalists were arrested in the region of Amhara and the Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa.
  • CPJ has been told that no warrants were used by Amhara state police during one raid in Bahir Dar, Amhara. Amhara police also seized equipment and hard drives.
  • Those detained include five journalists and media workers of the privately owned YouTube channel Ashara Media, four journalists of the YouTube channel Nisir International Broadcasting Corporation, as well as Meskerem Abera, founder and editor of private broadcaster Ethio Nekat Media and Solomon Shumeye, the founder and owner of private broadcaster Gebeyanu Media.
  • CPJ urges the Ethiopian authorities to immediately release all recently arrested journalists and media workers and to ensure that authorities cease harassing members of the press.
  • The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says it is returning Ethiopian migrants from Yemen to Ethiopia. 6750 migrants are expected to be flown back voluntarily in the coming months. 600 Ethiopians, including 60 minors, have already returned to Addis Ababa.

Regional Situation (per 25 May)

  • Bloomberg reports that outgoing Somali president Farmaajo has admitted that 5.000 Somali soldiers were trained in Eritrea last year.
  • President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has appointed his opponent in the presidential election, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed as special envoy to lead Somalia – Somaliland talks.

International Situation (per 25 May)

  • Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has arrived in Nigeria for bilateral meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari.
  • Responding to a parliamentary question, The British government says that “Troops from Eritrea have caused significant suffering in Tigray and they have committed abuses which may constitute war crimes”. The British government also insists that Eritrean troops must withdraw fully from Ethiopia.

Links of interest

‘I saw an oncologist cry’: Tigray cancer patients sent home do die for lack od drugs

Hundreds of migrants return to Ethiopia via IOM’s first voluntary return flights from Yemen in 2022

Ethiopian authorities arrest employees of independent media outlets

Facebook: ኣብ ወረዳ ሳሓርቲ ጣብያ ማርያ ሞቆ ቁሽት ገዛእቲ ኣብ ሓንቲ መዓልቲ ጥራሕ ኣስታት 160 ደቂኣንስትዮ በወረርቲ

Ethiopia unhappy over Abiy’s portrayal in the Time 100 list

UK says Eritrean troops committed abuses which may constitute war crimes

Twitter: US concerned about report of mass arrest in Ethiopia

Twitter: Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed appointed as special envoy

Outgoing Somali President Admits Sending 5,000 Troops to Eritrea

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.