Situation in Tigray (per 18 October)
- The Central Command of Tigray has stated that Shire has fallen to Ethiopian/Eritrean forces following weeks of fighting. Reuters confirmed the fall of the city, citing diplomatic and humanitarian sources.
- Tigray Central Command published a communiqué on 17 October calling for all able-bodied Tigrayans to join the fight against the “genocidal” forces of the Ethiopian federal government. In a separate statement they urged all Tigrayans to continue to fight to ensure their existence.
- According to a humanitarian worker, thousands of residents left the town of Shire during the weekend fearing a repeat of previous atrocities, including sexual violence and mass executions.
- Ethiopia map, a Twitter account following fighting in Tigray, says that NDF/EDF have made significant progress on multiple fronts.
- It reports that the Ethiopia/Eritrean forces are also moving up the B30 highway going to Shire, pushing north from May Tsemre. TDF forces have likely been cut off. Alamata and Korem, two cities south of Mekelle were also taken by ENDF/EDF forces. It also reports that ENDF/EDF forces are pushing beyond Shire, with fighting taking place in Slehleka.
- Ethiopia stated on 18 October that humanitarian services would be restored in recently occupied areas specifically via a corridor from North Gondar towards Shire and a Kombolcha-Dessie-Woldiya-Kobo-Alamata route.
- The opening of these routes will be preceded by “technical assessments and some of the groundwork needed to restore services to the conflict affected area”.
- Ethiopia has imposed a ban on the import of non essential goods for an indefinite period to give priority to “essential imports”.
- According to Business Daily Africa, Kenya has signed a deal with Ethiopia to purchase electricity at a fixed rate for the next five years of a 25 year deal.
- The BBC reports that a Catholic Bishop, Abune Fikremariam Hagos, was arrested by Eritrean government forces on 15 October at Asmara international airport after arriving from Europe.
- The Bishop is one of three (the others are Abba Mihretab Stefanos and Abba Abraham) catholic representatives recently arrested by the Eritrean regime, which confirms but refuses to provide reason for their arrest.
- Eritrea has a history of targeting catholic authorities for their efforts to promote an “inclusive democracy and end authoritarian behaviour” in Eritrea, says the BBC.
- The Sudan Tribune, citing UN OCHA, says that inter-communal clashes left 13 people dead and over 24 injured and displaced 1200 people in Sudan’s Blue Nile State. The disputes appear to have originated over land issues; security forces have been deployed to the region.
- The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that 386,000 people had been affected by floods in South Sudan as of 14 September, a decrease from the two previous years.
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, warned that aerial strikes on the Tigray region risk seriously exacerbating the already devastating impact of the war on civilians.
- The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said that the situation in Ethiopia is “spiralling out of control” and violence and destruction have reached alarming levels.
- The European Council condemns the fighting in Northern Ethiopia, it calls for all parties to honour their commitment to negotiation, reiterates the need for all to abide by international humanitarian law.
- The European Council confirms their commitment to an AU led peace process, stating that ”The EU commends and supports the ongoing efforts of the AU-led mediation to convene in the coming days the launch of negotiations between both parties to the conflict”.
- António Guterres, UN Secretary General, warns that “the situation in Ethiopia is spiralling out of control”. He calls for an immediate end to the Tigray conflict and the withdrawal of Eritrean forces. He calls on all parties to allow humanitarian aid to pass and reiterates his trust in the AU-led peace process.
- The Norwegian government published a statement expressing their concern regarding the situation around the town of Shire on 17 October.
– The embassy of Canada in Ethiopia condemned the attack on Shire, calling for a respect of humanitarian law and unrestricted humanitarian access.
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