Peace negotiations (per 19 December)

  • The regional council of Tigray appointed an 11-member negotiating team including representatives from ruling and opposition parties, scholars, women, the diaspora, and the TDF. Four of them participated in the Pretoria Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) negotiations, According to Dimtsi Woyane, DW.
  • Tigray President, Debretsion Gebremichael, stated during a meeting of the regional council that the Ethiopian federal government is not keeping the promises made in the CoH Agreement.
  • During the same meeting, he called out the ENDF for not yet having disengaged its troops from the frontline. He noted that the AU monitoring team has yet to arrive in Tigray and is eagerly awaited.

Situation in Tigray (per 19 December)

  • A source from Tigray states that regional armed forces from i.a. Amhara, SNNP, Benishangul, and Gambella are present in all areas from which the TDF withdrew. All towns between Humera, Adi Gosgu, May-Kadra and Adi-Remets have reportedly been destroyed during the past two weeks.
  • Amhara forces are destroying houses preventing the population from returning. People displaced from Western Tigray are being “hunted down” and killed from camps in Tselemti, Asgede, Axum and Adwa.
  • Aid crossing from Gondar into Tigray is stated to be sold before reaching target populations as the ENDF has no control outside of the roads. Eritrean forces control off-road land until May-Kinetal and Nebelet. This presence is stated to be aimed at long term occupation.
  • The source also states that reconnection to the national grid is tokenistic as there are no signs of restoration of banking services and internet.
  • According to Tesfaselassie Medhin, head of the catholic eparchy of Adigrat, more than 100.000 newly displaced people have arrived from the Tigray border areas to Adigrat and surrounding areas. They rely entirely on the assistance from the local population.
  • Two authors at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs state that starvation as a weapon of war continues in Tigray, as humanitarian aid, especially food, needs to dramatically increase to slow or reverse famine.
  • They call for the application of resolution 2417 of the United Nations Security Council that “provides a foundation for challenging countries like Ethiopia” that use famine as a weapon of war.
  • The ICRC released footage dating from 1 to 6 December showing the dire healthcare situation in Tigray. It shows the overwhelming needs of the region, and highlights that not all areas of Tigray are accessible.
  • Leaked emails of US officials seen by AFP revealed that the US plan for evacuation of its nationals in 2021 was shut down due to Ethiopian insistence that they be put in indefinite detention for vetting.
  • Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital warns that it has been unable to perform permanent pacemaker implantations for two years and is in need of basic cardiovascular drugs.
  • Yonas Nigussie, author at Ethiopia Insight, states that the Western Tigray is important for the federal Ethiopian government as its annexation to the Amhara region would leave Tigray  encircled.
  • He points to the unequal distribution of aid in Tigray as an example of what he terms an intentional strategy to undermine Tigray authorities via the deprivation of basic needs of the population.

Situation in Ethiopia (per 19 December)

  • According to Tony Magaña, Professor at Mekelle University, the Ethiopian Minister of Education, Berhanu Nega, will reduce the number of university teachers by 40% and plans to make military service mandatory for joining university. This announcement follows the university strike across Ethiopia.
  • Berhanu Nega is a close ally of Eritrean President Isayas, who enforced permanent national service in all sectors in Eritrea, which has been referred to as a crime against humanity.
  • The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission stated that hundreds were killed in a “gruesome manner” over the past five months in Oromia, while all sides deny accusations of human rights abuses, says the BBC.

Regional Situation (per 19 December)

  • The Federal government of Ethiopia and the Republic of Kenya have pledged to increase cooperation in their fight against al-Shabaab, says Garowe Online.
  • The Somali military stated that at least 50 al-Shabaab militants were killed in the Middle Shabelle region.
  • Two new armed groups were established in central Sudan; Col Khalid Alswarmi’s Patriotic Entity Forces in eastern great central Sudan and Lt Col Abu Aqelah Mohamed Kikal’s Sudan Shield Force in the Butana region of central Sudan, says the Sudan Tribune.
  • Both reject the Juba agreement which the transitional framework signatories wish to revise.

International Situation (per 19 December)

  • US Congressperson Brad Sherman is calling on the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) to delay a proposed loan to Ethiopian Airlines until full implementation of the CoH Agreement.
  • Demeke Mekonnen, Ethiopia’s Deputy PM, called on the EU to “terminate the mandate of the International Commission of Experts” at the next UNHRC session, says The Reporter.
  • French Amb. to Ethiopia, Remi Maréchaux, says that France is willing to resume military cooperation with Ethiopia “sooner rather than later”, saying accountability for victims of the war must be addressed.

Links of interest

Tigray Regional Council appoints negotiation team, Dimtsi Woyane

DW International TV

Debretsion Gebremichael ENDF disengagement

US citizens trapped in Tigray, detained in Addis Ababa

Starving for Aid: The Unseen War in Tigray

Ethiopia: rare footage from Tigray Shows health crisis

AFRICA/ETHIOPIA – Adigrat overwhelmed by more than 100,000 new displaced persons

Pacemaker Implantation in Ayder Hospital has been stopped for more than 2 years

Ethiopia’s winner-takes-all politics threatens Tigray peace deal

Twitter: Ethiopia to reduce university teachers by 40%.

Ethiopia’s PM sees OLA rebellion grow in his own backyard

Kenya and Somalia commit to defeat Al-Shabaab militants

Somali Military Kills 50 Al-Shabab Fighters in New Operation

New armed groups emerge in central Sudan

Twitter: Congressman Brad Sherman Export-Import Bank of the United States

Twitter: Missy Ryan Ethiopian Abiy Ahmed cancelled his appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations

Ethiopia PM requests US to restore AGOA ties

Ethiopia Demands Termination Of Mandate For UN Rights Experts

Ethio-France Deep Bonds

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.