Source: BBC

Ethiopia PM meets AU envoys but bars them from Tigray

Kalkidan Yibeltal

BBC News, Addis Ababa

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has met an African Union mission that arrived in Addis Ababa to try to mediate between his government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) after more than three weeks of military conflict.

FILE PHOTO: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali poses with medal and diploma after receiving Nobel Peace Prize during ceremony in Oslo City Hall, Norway December 10, 2019. NTB Scanpix/Hakon Mosvold Larsen via REUTERS

Mr Abiy previously branded international efforts to bring the two parties to the table as “unwelcome”, and the AU mission will not be allowed to meet Tigray officials.

After Friday’s meeting with three special AU envoys, Mr Abiy said in a statement that his government was seeking to ensure the protection of civilians, it was opening a humanitarian corridor, and it will welcome back Ethiopian refugees who fled into Sudan.

However, the prime minister said his government would continue its efforts against what it calls the “TPLF clique”.

The AU envoys – ex-presidents Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa – will not be allowed to travel to Tigray, the government has already said.

Ethiopia’s presidency has thanked the “esteemed African elders” for their “readiness to support”. But it’s not clear how the envoys can accomplish their mission without meeting both sides.

Now Ethiopian unity faces its severest test yet: since Nov. 4, the military has been battling a group that once dominated the national government - the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the northern Tigray region.

The TPLF frames the conflict as a battle for the rights of Ethiopia’s 10 regions against a premier bent on centralising power. They say Abiy has discriminated against Tigrayans since he came to power and have referred to his rule as an “illegal, unitarist and personalistic dictatorship”.

The government denies trying to centralise control.

Three major decisions infuriated the TPLF, which dominated the governing coalition for nearly three decades until Abiy came to power in 2018: Abiy’s rapprochement with their arch-enemy, the nation of Eritrea; his replacement of an ethnically based coalition with a new national party; and the postponement of national elections.Each sparked bitter recriminations from the TPLF. The ensuing conflict has sent ripples through the region.

Ethiopia, a regional heavyweight, is home to the African Union; its security forces serve in peacekeeping missions in Somalia and South Sudan and work alongside Western allies against Islamist militants.Leenco Lata, a veteran opposition leader, said the federal system is under pressure from both sides as debate polarises between supporters of closer unity or separation. Abiy says he’s tried to work with the TPLF, but has been repeatedly rebuffed; his office published a timeline of such attempts this week.

The government says Tigrayan forces started the conflict by attacking federal troops stationed there. The TPLF have described the attack as a pre-emptive strike.

Underlying the political struggle are long-standing rivalries between Ethiopia’s 80-plus ethnic groups. Many regional leaders see Abiy’s democratic reforms as a chance to grab more power for their own group. Zemelak Ayele, a professor at Addis Ababa University, said even though citizens resented the previous repression, the TPLF might have grudging support from some regional leaders who consider it a bulwark against a more centralised government.”Even those who are ardent detractors of TPLF are not necessarily ardent supporters of the war (in Tigray),” he said. “Some might feel the federal system might be in danger if the TPLF is out of the picture.”


The secretive, highly militarised nation of Eritrea - often nicknamed “Africa’s North Korea” - lies along Ethiopia’s northern border. Eritrea won independence from Ethiopia in 1991 following three decades of war. Conflict over a border dispute broke out again from 1998-2000; tens of thousands died.

The TPLF spearheaded that war. They regard Eritrea as an arch-enemy.

Months after Abiy came to power, he signed a peace deal with Eritrea in 2018 and was subsequently awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. Regular visits began between Abiy and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, drawing accusations from the TPLF that Abiy was “serving as a vehicle for Isaias’s desire to extract a pound of flesh for perceived wrongs”.

Billene Seyoum, Abiy’s spokeswoman, said the TPLF was trying to “internationalise the conflict” and that intelligence reports suggested the TPLF had been manufacturing Eritrean and Ethiopian army uniforms.

The TPLF has fired missiles at its capital Asmara and says Eritrea is now fighting alongside Ethiopian troops in Tigray, which Ethiopia denies.

Reuters has not been able to reach the Eritrean government for comment for two weeks.

Source=Analysis: How attempts to unify Ethiopia may be deepening its divides, say analysts | Reuters




One month ago, Tigray was the safest region in Ethiopia. Today, it is ravaged by war.

Our greatest concern is the protection of civilians-protection of all civilians anywhere in Ethiopia and abroad by all Ethiopians and the international community.
We are communicating to the African Union and to the international community that the (Government of Tigray) has appointed a representative  who is empowered to discuss and decide with members of the AU, the international community, and authorities in the government of Ethiopia to seek:

A. An immediate cessation of hostilities.
B. Measures for the protection of all civilians.
C. Unimpeded humanitarian access.
D. Independent investigation by external parties of any alleged atrocities and war crimes or violations of international law.

An immediate cessation to ensure the protection of civilians is of paramount importance.

Getachew Reda
Political advisor of the president of the regional government of Tigray


Fuel and cash are running out while food for nearly 100,000 refugees from Eritrea will be gone in a week, the UN says.

Source: Al Jazeera

26 Nov 2020

The United Nations has raised alarm over shortages that have become “very critical” in Ethiopia’s Tigray, as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announces a “final phase” of the three-week conflict in the embattled region.

Tigray’s population of six million remains sealed off and its capital is under threat of attack by Ethiopian forces seeking to arrest the regional leaders.

Fuel and cash are running out, more than a million people are displaced and food for nearly 100,000 refugees from Eritrea will be gone in a week, according to a new report released by the UN overnight on Thursday.

More than 600,000 people who rely on monthly food rations have not received them this month, the global body said.

Travel blockages are so dire that even within Tigray’s capital, Mekelle, the UN World Food Programme cannot gain access in order to transport food from its warehouses there.

Communications and travel links remain severed with the Tigray region since the deadly conflict broke out on November 4.

Human Rights Watch is warning that “actions that deliberately impede relief supplies” violate international humanitarian law.


More than 40,000 refugees from Tigray have crossed the border into Kassala, one of the most impoverished regions of Sudan, which itself is one of the world’s poorest countries.

Analysts and international aid agencies warn that Sudan urgently needs assistance in order to be able to help those desperately fleeing Ethiopia.

“A larger influx would have very dangerous economic repercussions for Sudan,” said Sudanese economist Mohamed el-Nayer.

“We need the international community to urgently intervene economically and help provide food, shelter and medicines to those refugees. If not, Sudan’s economy will be over-burdened.”

Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb, reporting from Kenya’s Nairobi, said: “Civilians have been caught up in this conflict so far.”

“The Ethiopian government’s human rights commission has said that more than 600 civilians were killed in an attack that took place two weeks ago in a massacre that it says was carried out by a Tigray militia,” he said.

“Both sides have been accused of killing civilians but both sides have denied targeting civilians.”

Final offensive

Abiy on Thursday ordered Ethiopia’s army to launch a final offensive against Tigray’s leaders in Mekelle, saying the window for their surrender had expired.

Abiy’s government set a 72-hour ultimatum on Sunday for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces to lay down its arms or face an assault on Mekelle, the highland regional capital city of 500,000 people.

“The Ethiopian National Defence Forces have now been directed to conclude the third and final phase of our rule of law operations,” Abiy said in a statement on Twitter.

“In this final phase, great care will be given to protect innocent civilians from harm. All efforts will be made to ensure that the city of Mekelle, which was built through the hard work of our people, will not be severely damaged.”

In an extraordinary session held on 21 November 2020, the Central Council of the Eritrean People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) discussed with deep concern the armed hostilities raging in Northern Ethiopia bordering Eritrea.

Recalling the Resolution of the EPDP 3rd and Unity Congress of 2019 that strongly condemned the Eritrean regime’s policy of unwarranted interferences to aggravate the regional and ethnic tensions in Ethiopia;

And aware of the Congress’s call to the Eritrean people to watch out against the covert accords and treaties being signed and kept in the dark between the Ethiopian Government and Eritrean regime that can be suspected of reversing history and violating Eritrean sovereignty;

The extraordinary of the Central Council thus concluded that the concerns and fears of its Congress Resolutions are now on display:

  • The people of Tigray are subjected to likely mass killings and disruption;
  • Eritrea has become literally a military base for Ethiopian army, and
  • The Eritrean people have once more become victims of a war which was none of their business.

Springing from these realities, therefore, this emergency Central Council resolves as follows:

  1. The EPDP condemns in the strongest terms possible this Abiy-isaias on the people and the regional government of Tigray. We know causes of the war to be political and constitutional in nature and we call upon both sides to stop the armed hostilities and find an appropriate political solution.
  1. The EPDP supports the calls by international and regional organizations, governments, religious and human rights bodies for ending the war, and we in particular urge warring parties to accept the initiative of the African Union for peace mediation. In the meantime, we call upon the international community to give serious attention to the plight of all refugees and internally displaced persons in the region.
  1. Justifiable fears of Eritreans are that one of the objectives of this war is to damage and compromise the hard-won sovereignty of the Eritrean people. We thus renew the call on the Eritrean armed forces and people to redouble their efforts to remove the treacherous dictatorship of Isaias Afeworki before it gets too late.
  1. The territorial integrity and sovereignty of Eritrea is already endangered by Dictator Isaias Afeworki’s decision to turn Eritrea into a military base for Ethiopian land, air and naval forces. That is why we say it high time for the entire Eritrean nation to rise up against the one-man dictatorship and in the meantime ask for the most immediate withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from Eritrean land.
  1. The treacherous one-man dictatorship in Eritrea did not only allow the entry of foreign armed forces to Eritrea, but it also reportedly forced Eritrean army units to be exposed to the risks of the war in Tigray forgetting that their sole responsibility isf being the guardians of Eritrean sovereignty and the safety of its people.This emergency meeting of the Central Council therefore calls on the Eritrean armed forces to abandon their unjustified involvement in the war that does not concern them. We reiterate our urge to our own people to help in finding ways for safe return of its sons and daughters forced to join this war.
  1. Likewise, our Party calls for an end of the ongoing ethnic killings in Ethiopia and condemns the massive attacks of the Ethiopian Government in Tigray region.
  1. We forcefully reject any abuses on civilians and theft of their properties. As such, the reported seizure of people’s property under the cover of war is a criminal act not to be condoned, whoever the actor; it must also be clear to all that such illegal seizures will have consequences.
  1. The world is well aware that many Eritreans have long been forced to live in exile due to the 30-year liberation war and, since 1991, because of the intolerable situation under the one-man dictatorship. Ethiopia and the Sudan have been among the generous benefactors supporting our exiled people. To this day, Ethiopia hosts a large number of Eritrean refugees, many of them in camps in the Tigray region. Because of this, the total membership in our party and many Eritreans are deeply concerned about the precarious situation of Eritrean refugees in the war zone.

The EPDP Central Council therefore wishes to draw the attention of all concerned bodies including the international community to provide the necessary protection and support the tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees in the region.

  1. Finally, the EPDP wishes to remind compatriots in the camp of justice seekers, both political and civic actors, to redouble our efforts than ever before for unity and joint work and recognize that relatively positive achievements made during 2020 in this regard are NOT enough, NOT at all commensurate to  the challenges of the hour!!

 We in the EPDP therefore ask all fraternal forces in the Eritrean camp of change seekers to enter into a totally new and energized phase of working together.  

EPDP Central Council

21 November, 2020


Source: UNHCR

The UN Refugee Agency has given the total number of people arriving in Sudan after fleeing the fighting in Tigray at 42,575.

This is explained in a series of helpful diagrams, which were updated yesterday (24 November)

As can be seen above, the figure has gradually tailed off since the high of nearly 7,000 on 11 of November. It is currently 740.

No indication is given for why this has happened.  Have all those in danger now left and reached Sudan? Are communities trapped by the fighting? We don’t know. 300w, 1024w, 768w, 1536w, 1680w" sizes="(max-width: 840px) 100vw, 840px" data-recalc-dims="1" style="box-sizing: inherit; border: 0px; max-width: 100%; height: auto; clear: both; display: block; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; margin-bottom: 1em; text-align: center;">

The situation of the nearly 100,000 Eritreans who fled from Eritrea to Tigray is very worrying. Some live in camps; others have moved out and live in the community or in towns.

The UNHCR says it has little contact with the camps and has withdrawn most of its staff.

This blog has filed a report on the situation at Mai Ayni, which was over-run by Federal Forces and Amhara militia. Three refugees were killed and four were injured. They were without medical help.

That was published yesterday and there has been no further news.

Ethiopian troops halt civilians fleeing to Sudan

Thursday, 26 November 2020 13:18 Written by



Troops ‘stopping’ civilians fleeing fighting in Ethiopia

Ethiopian troops have been deployed along the border with Sudan and are impacting the flow of refugees fleeing the northern state of Tigray.

This comes in the middle of a military confrontation between the federal government and the regional ruling party the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF). 

With an information blackout in the conflict, there are fears about the safety and welfare of civilians. 

The Ethiopian government said it will make a final push into the regional capital of Mekelle as a new deadline for the region’s leaders to surrender lapsed on Wednesday. 

The BBC’s Anne Soy, who is on the Sudan side of the border, says River Sittet in Hamdayit has been an important border crossing point for people fleeing fighting in Tigray. 

The Sudanese Commission for Refugees said it had been receiving an average of 1,200 people there daily. 

On Wednesday our reporter saw at least a dozen soldiers stationed on the hills across the river. The refugees identified them as Ethiopian federal forces and said they had been stopping people crossing into Sudan. 

The federal government has not responded to the BBC’s request for comment. 

Many refugees who have been waiting for their relatives to join them in Sudan are worried about this new development.


Source: Pressenza

25.11.2020 – US, United States – Pressenza New York

Statement from a Coalition of Pan African Organizations on the War in Ethiopia

By the United African Congress

We are deeply disturbed by the escalation of violence following the declaration of war on the regional state of Tigray by PM Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia on November 4, 2020. We are New York-based Pan African advocacy and humanitarian organizations representing the interest of Africa and Africans in the Diaspora in the U.S. and worldwide.

This conflict has the potential of spiraling uncontrollably into large scale civil war possibly drawing in neighboring counters. As Martin Plaut, a former BBC Africa editor told Al Jazeera on November 8: “It is impossible to be certain of Eritrea’s role in Ethiopia’s domestic conflict. Since the first visits to each other’s capitals by the two leaders in July 2018 there has never been a press conference at which journalists could ask either Prime Minister Abiy or President Isaias what they hoped to achieve. However, it is clear that relations are today so close that it is inconceivable that the Ethiopian leader would have undertaken such a major operation, on Eritrea’s border, without clearing it with his opposite number.”

There are now unconfirmed reports of Eritrean troops crossing the border into Ethiopia in support of Abiy’s military offensive in Tigray. This development is ominous as it could engulf the Horn of Africa and countries along the Red Sea in the conflict, with implications for peace and security in Africa and the Middle East. It is no longer an internal Ethiopian matter.

Concerned by the developments in Ethiopia, the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) comprising countries of the Horn of Africa, the Nile Valley and African Great Lakes has issued a statement calling for the de-escalation of the tensions and resolving their differences through dialogue and reconciliation. The European Union representative also expressed on November 7 concern for the integrity of the country and the stability of the wider region and called for de-escalation of tensions.

In his letter to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the current president of the African Union Commission, Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael, president of the regional state of Tigray, expressed his firm belief that political problems could not be solved through military means. He adds “the AU has the responsibility and is better placed to help all political and civic stake holders of the country into an all-inclusive and comprehensive dialogue to avert an all-out civil war in the country.”

PM Abiy has so far rejected all appeals for cessation of hostilities. Air strikes on major cities in Tigray are being carried out in addition to the large scale military offensive on the ground. Thousands of civilians are reported to be fleeing to neighboring Sudan.

Humanitarian agencies including the UNHCR are facing difficulties reaching Tigray which is completely sealed by Dr. Abiy with the Internet also cut off. Tigray is also home to an estimated 100,000 refugees from Eritrea. A humanitarian crisis may be in the making.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for the immediate de-escalation of violence and for providing immediate humanitarian assistance to civilians in the Tigray region. She urges an inclusive dialogue between all parties in Ethiopia to protect all Ethiopian citizens’ rights to participate in free and fair elections. We can’t agree more.

As concerned Africans in the Diaspora and as friends of Ethiopia, we in the United African Congress (UAC) and partners call for immediate cessation of hostilities and strongly urge both parties to engage in a peaceful dialogue to resolve what is essentially a political problem.

Recognizing the conflict as a threat to international peace and security we call upon the UN Security Council to convene an emergency meeting to demand immediate ceasefire and to urge the parties to engage in peaceful dialogue.

We also call on the African Union to take a more active role in mediation efforts aimed at a peaceful resolution to stop the needless carnage which could easily spread into a wider regional conflagration.


Dr. Mohammed A Nurhussein,
National Chairman, United African Congress, New York

Gordon Tapper President,
United African Congress, New York

Stephanie Evans,
Executive Director, Give Them a Hand Foundation, New York

Milton Allimadi,
Founder and Publisher, Black Star News, New York

Dr. Ron Daniels,
President Institute of the Black World 21st Century and Convener, Pan African Unity Dialogue. New York

Mamadou Niang,
Managing Editor Next, New York

Pierre Sané,
Executive President and Editor, Imagine Africa Institute, Dakar, Sénégal

Cheikh Niang,
CEO, CTN Avia, Miami, Florida

Tigray is not alone…Ethiopia’s other conflicts

Wednesday, 25 November 2020 11:36 Written by


Analysts fear the conflict in Tigray could fuel violence in other parts of the country.

Source: New Humanitarian

Ethiopia’s other conflicts

Philip Kleinfeld

A family sits inside their shelter within a camp for internally displaced people in Chelelektu town of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR) in Ethiopia, on 15 August, 2018
A family sits inside their shelter within a camp for internally displaced people in Chelelektu town of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) in Ethiopia, on 15 August, 2018. (Tiksa Negeri/REUTERS)

The conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region has cost hundreds of lives and sent tens of thousands of people fleeing to Sudan over the past three weeks. But the region is just one of several in the country experiencing violent unrest amid a fraught political transition.

Some analysts fear the conflict in Tigray – which pits the northern region’s heavily armed leadership against the authority and forces of the central government – could fuel conflict in other parts of the country, which is divided into 10 ethnically-based regions. Armed violence may increase due to opportunism or a heightened sense of grievance.

Read more → Tigray refugees recount the horrors of Ethiopia’s new conflict

Pockets of conflict in Ethiopia are typically driven by identity and ethnic politics, and competition over land and natural resources. In a significant proportion of cases, as reported by media, human rights groups, and the UN, clashes also occur on the borders between different regions and communities, especially when control over territory is transferred from one authority to another.

Unlike the battles in Tigray, most incidents of non-governmental violence involve loosely-defined militia, according to records maintained by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a conflict monitoring group, while a minority of cases are attributed to organised armed groups.

The loosening of political controls under Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has seen violence increase across the country as different ethnic groups and regions push for increased power and autonomy.

Humanitarian needs have followed: About 1.2 million people are already estimated to be living displaced from their homes by conflict – a figure sure to rise once humanitarian agencies are able to properly assess the situation in Tigray.

Ethiopia's Regional Conflicts 300w, 1024w, 768w" sizes="(max-width: 840px) 100vw, 840px" data-recalc-dims="1" style="box-sizing: inherit; border: 0px; max-width: 100%; height: auto; clear: both; display: block; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; margin-bottom: 1em; text-align: center;">

With attention currently focused on the northern region, here is a non-exhaustive list of some of Ethiopia’s other flashpoints.

Benishangul-Gumuz region

Armed men killed at least 34 people travelling on a passenger bus on 14 November, according to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission – the latest in a series of deadly attacks in the northwestern province. The identity of the attackers is often unclear, though some blame ethnic Gumuz militiamen for targeting members of other ethnic groups, in particular the Amhara. In October, Abiy said fighters from the region were receiving training and shelter in Sudan. Benishangul-Gumuz is home to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a massive hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile that has caused tensions with downstream Nile users, Egypt and Sudan.

West Wollega zone

At least 54 civilians were killed on 1 November in Guliso, West Wollega, by suspected members of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), a rebel group that operates in western and southern Oromia. The killings targeted members of the Amhara ethnic group, according to Amnesty international, and took place after Ethiopian troops abruptly left the area. The OLA is a breakaway faction of the Oromo Liberation Front, a once-banned separatist group that returned to Ethiopia from exile in 2018 with Abiy’s blessing. Government forces have been accused of extra-judicial killings and arbitrary detention of civilians during military operations against the OLA.

Afar-Somali border

Friction along the border between the Afar and Somali regions has flared into sporadic conflict and displaced over 125,000 people over the last two years. The disputed area straddles trade and transport corridors with the neighbouring port state of Djibouti and access to the Awash river. According to the government, about 50,000 people have been displaced on the Afar side, and 78,000 on the Somali side. A UN report in January 2020 said the humanitarian situation in the Siti zone on the Somali side was “dire”, and access for aid to get in was very restricted under the oversight of a heavy military presence. In late October 2020, dozens were reportedly killed in clashes in the area. Conflict monitoring group ACLED records the current phase of sporadic violence as starting after serious clashes between armed Afar and Somali gunmen in December 2018 that killed dozens. A 2014 agreement to grant special status to three administrative areas along the regional border did not end the tension.

Oromo-Somali eastern border

One of the largest concentrations of displaced people due to conflict in Ethiopia is in Fafan, part of the Somali region bordering Oromia region. According to the UN’s migration agency, over 160,000 people were living in 34 displacement sites in mid-2020. Violence flared in August 2018, with Somalis targeting “highlanders” in the regional hub of Jijiga at a period of high political tension involving the former president of the region, Abdi Illey. Another long-running source of friction and sporadic violence nearby involves rivalry and disputes between the Jarso and Gerri communities.

Oromo-Somali southern border

The southern border between Oromia and the Somali region is also a flashpoint for communal tensions and competition for access to land and natural resources. Conflict in the Borena and Dawa areas of southern Ethiopia had left 350,000 people displaced by mid-2020, according to the UN’s migration agency, IOM. In December 2018, 21 people were killed in one of many outbreaks of conflict in the border town of Moyale, particularly between ethnic Borana – related to the Oromo group – and the Somali Garre clan. Residents have in the past fled to Kenya and Kenyan security forces have occasionally become involved, making it a point of international concern.

Amhara-Tigray border

The border between Tigray and Amhara has been a long-running dispute since its redrawing in 1991, which enlarged the Tigray boundary. Sporadic skirmishes have been reported in recent years, especially in the western part of the border area. Intercommunal violence has also broken out in Amhara between ethnic Amhara and Qemant groups, following administrative changes in 2017 giving greater autonomy to the Qemant in areas populated by both. The situation displaced over 50,000 people from September 2018 to March 2019, according to the UN’s emergency aid coordination agency, OCHA. Amhara region officials claim the TPLF is backing the Qemant as part of the broader territorial dispute. Amhara militias are now supporting the federal government’s offensive in Tigray.

Gedeo and West Guji zones

Intercommunal violence along the border of Gedeo, in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region Region (SNNPR), and West Guji, in Oromia region, displaced hundreds of thousands of people in 2018. Ethnic Gedeos were accused by their Oromo neighbours of trying to annex land and resources. The government limited humanitarian access to displaced people as part of a controversial effort to encourage the displaced to return home, which most eventually did. Local peace committees were set up across the area to facilitate dialogue between the two ethnic groups – who had lived together for decades – but tensions over land still linger.

Bench Sheko zone

Between 18 and 21 October, an unidentified armed group attacked civilians in the Bench zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR). Reports say 31 people were killed, although police figures differed. The area is in the deep southwest of the country, about 75 kilometres from the South Sudan border. The incident, which included the burning of homesteads and food stores, happened in a location called Gura Farda. Some local media reports say the victims were ethnic Amhara. The area includes a mix of ethnicities, and a restructuring to form a new administrative grouping is currently being considered.

Wolaita zone

Security forces killed at least 17 people in Wolaita zone on 10 August, after protests erupted following the arrest of local politicians seeking to form an autonomous region for the Wolaita ethnic group. The zone is currently situated within the SNNPR. Wolaita officials are hoping to follow the lead of the Sidama – the largest ethnic group in the region – who voted to form their own self-governing territory in November 2019.


Mark Eyskens, former prime minister of Belgium and Koos Richelle, former director-general of the EU, are among 55 senior Europeans who supported this appeal.  

Source: EUObserver

  • Axum airport in northern Ethiopia, in 2016. The airport was destroyed by forces from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front at the weekend, according to reports 


Dear Excellencies Charles Michel (president of the EU Council), Ursula von der Leyen (president of the EU Commission) and David Sassoli (president of the European Parliament),

A call to the EU to urgently engage in peace efforts for the Horn of Africa.

The European Union must immediately appoint senior high-level envoys for the Horn of Africa to engage in and provide support to international, in particular African, efforts to curb the crisis in the Horn of Africa.

The UN has called for an immediate ceasefire of all hostilities.

According to the UN, 4,000 people a day are fleeing to Sudan from Ethiopia.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has called for a humanitarian corridor to reach the 96,000 refugees and internally-displaced persons in refugee camps in Sudan and in northern Ethiopia.

The UN is already preparing to receive 200,000 refugees in Sudan. An old refugee camp, that served during the 1984 famine, is sadly brought in use again.

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has stated the hope that “Ethiopia will be able to find the peace it needs for its development and the wellbeing of its people.”

This crisis rightly has the full attention of the African continent.

The chair of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, has appointed three elderly statespersons as envoys: Joaquim Chissano, former president of the Republic of Mozambique; Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former president of the Republic of Liberia, and Kgalema Motlanthe, former president of the Republic of South Africa – as special envoys of the African Union. Their efforts should be supported.

Unfortunately, the military interventions are not the only problem in the region.

After the lost harvest due to the destruction by locust swarms, food reserves are in severe jeopardy.

The conflict is now contributing to an already dire situation.

A new famine of most severe proportions is looming. The current crisis comes on top of the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving children out of school for six months already. It affects tens of thousands of children in precarious situations, often separated from parents and guardians.

Ethiopia is globally renowned for its world cultural heritage representing one of the oldest human civilisations of which Ethiopians and Africans are rightly proud.

The UNESCO world heritage site in Aksum, other heritage sites and religious centres are now under threat. This tragedy is compounded by a terrible loss of innocent lives, sexual violence and a destabilising refugee crisis.

This regional crisis in the Horn of Africa requires the immediate attention of the EU at the highest level. The EU should call on the experience of statespersons to contribute as high-level envoys to the efforts of the African Union and the UN.


Professor Dr Mirjam van Reisen, professor of international relations, innovation and care, Tilburg University

Plus 51 other signatories, including:

Prof. Dr Mirjam van Reisen, Professor International Relations, Innovation and care, Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Greet Vanaerschot, Secretary General, Pax Christi International

Agnes van Ardenne, former Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation and former Dutch Ambassador to the Food and Agri Organisations of the United Nations in Rome

Genoveva Tisheva, Director of the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation, Bulgaria

Malgorzata Tarasiewicz, Director Network of East-West Women, Poland

Juan Santos Vara, Professor of Public International Law and Jean Monnet, University of Salamanca, Spain

Prof. Dr Conny Rijken, Professor of Human Trafficking and Globalization, Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Koos Richelle, former EU Director General European Commission, EU

Prof. Dr Rik Van de Walle, Rector of Ghent University, Belgium

Prof. Dr Luc Sels, Rector of Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven, Belgium

Lilianne Ploumen, MP, former Minister of International Trade and Development Cooperation, The Netherlands

Dr Gunnar Köhlin, Associate Professor and Director, Environment for Development Initiative, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Ron Rijnbende, Edukans, The Netherlands

Simon Stocker, LDC-Watch

Klara Smits, Europe External Policy Advisors, Belgium

María Luisa Gil Payno, Economistas sin Fronteras, Spain

Ionut Sibian, Fundația pentru Dezvoltarea Societății Civile, Romania

Antonella Napoli, journalist, Italy

Prof. Dr Jan Nyssen, Department of Geography, UGent, Belgie

Dr Jan Nouwen, Coordinator Global Health Education, Erasmus University, The Netherlands

Prof. Dr Augusto Montixi, University of Cagliari, Italy

Dr Violeta Moreno-Lax, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Dr Réginald Moreels, Humanitarian surgeon and former minister for development cooperation Belgium

Paddy Maguinness, Europe External Programme with Africa, Ireland

Jens Martens, Global Policy Forum Europe, Germany

Stig Lundberg, Consultant Religious Affairs, Sweden

Benoit Lannoo, Consultant International & Interreligious Cooperation, Belgium

Jasper Kuipers, Director Dokters van de Wereld, The Netherlands

Florence Keller, Referente for platforme Citoyenne, Namur and Luxembourg regions, Belgium

Mehdi Kassou, Président de la Plate-forme citoyenne de soutien aux Réfugiés, Belgium

Susanna Henriksén, Act Church of Sweden, Sweden

Rudi Friedrich, Director of Connection e.V., Germany

William Grech, KOPIN Supporting Refugees in Malta, Malta

Valerio Giaccoia, journalist, Italy

Pierre Galand, Former Senator, Human Rights activist, Belgium

Mark Eyskens, Minister of State, Former Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of International Cooperation, Belgium

Anne Catherine de Neve, Referee Antenne Plate-forme Citoyenne de soutien aux Réfugiés for Brabant Wallon, Belgium

Prof. Ronald de Jong, Professor of Practice, Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Halle Jorn Hanssen, Writer and former secretary General Norwegian Peoples Aid, Norway

Dr Daria Davitti, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Lund University, Sweden

Allan Bussard, Director, Integra Foundation, Slovakia

Prof. Dr Frans Bongers, Professor Tropical Forest Ecology, Environmental Sciences Group, Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands

Roberto Bissio, Social Watch

Dr Andrés Bautista-Hernáez, Professor of Public International Law, University of Málaga, Spain

Dr Martin Barber, Chair, United Against Inhumanity (UAI), UK

Iliana Balabanova, President, Bulgarian Platform European Women’s Lobby, Bulgaria

Africa, Italy

Laura Albu, President, Romanian Women’s Lobby, Vice-President of the European Women’s Lobby, Romania

Prof. Dr Bas Arts, Universiteit van Wageningen, The Netherlands

Sara Arapiles, Nottingham University, UK

Matyas Benyik, Attac, Hungary

Kees Zevenbergen, Director CORDAID, The Netherlands

Ian White, Changing Perspectives, Ireland

Prof. Dr Lindsay Whitfield, Chair in Global Studies, Project Coordinator Decent Work and GVC-based Industrialization in Ethiopia, Roskilde University, Denmark

Prof. Dr Fulvio Vassallo, Avvocato e Vicepresidente A-DIF, Emeritus University of Palermo, Italy