SITUATION REPORT – HORN OF AFRICA No. 264, 08 September 2022

Situation in Tigray (per 08 September)

  • According to Rashid Abdi, a Horn of Africa analyst, two Tigrayan government negotiators have arrived in Addis Ababa for negotiations with the government. 
  • UNOCHA says that no aid convoys have arrived in Tigray since 23 August. 
  • The International Crisis Group has written a paper about “Avoiding the Abyss as War Resumes”. It says that the war in Ukraine distracted Western capitals at the moment when an opportunity for a truce opened. ICG adds that western efforts and diplomacy towards Ethiopia remain “disjointed”. 
  • According to the International Crisis Group, neither the Ethiopian government, nor the Tigrayans have much to win with a renewal in fighting. It is risky for both sides. Ethiopia could end up in a major escalation with Sudan, and Tigray remains under an intense humanitarian blockade. 
  • The ICG says it is important to renew peace talks, and that both sides can take steps to bring about a solution. It suggests the government agree that Amhara’s take over of Western Tigray is “unconstitutional”, and that Tigray should agree to enter talks with Ethiopian representatives on disagreements in western Tigray, and the  logistics and security of restoring aid to Tigray.
  • It adds that Africa and the international community will likely have to play the role of “guarantors”. The AU can also ”create a panel of senior African officials to lead the [mediation] process”. 

Situation in Ethiopia (per 08 September)

  • Ethiopia has issued a statement requiring all embassies and consulates to inform the Ethiopian government when they “organise gatherings”. 
  • Leaked documents purportedly show that the government is freezing bank accounts of individuals who provided humanitarian assistance to Tigrayans and victims of gender based violence. 
  • The Ethiopian central bank introduced measures banning the use of foreign currency in local transactions. Ethiopian foreign reserves are reportedly dropping due to a widening deficit.

Regional Situation (per 08 September)

  • UNHCR has told BBC amharic that it has received “credible reports” that refugees were recruited, sometimes by force, from camps in Sudan. This reportedly occurred “months ago”. UNHCR says it complained with the Sudanese government, and that since then the situation has improved. 
  • UNHCR adds that it could “not confirm” who was behind the recruiting. There have however been many reports of TDF affiliated fighters attacking Ethiopia from Sudan. 
  • Sudan reportedly sent military reinforcements to Hamdayet, on the Ethiopian border. It has also requested NGOs and aid organisations to leave the area and close the local reception centre. 

International  Situation (per 08 September)

  • The UNSC meeting on Ethiopia that was due to take place today (Thursday) has been postponed to Monday following a disagreement about it being an open or closed session. 
  • Foundation Human Rights for Eritreans has written an open letter to the UNSC, urging it to take action on Eritrea’s involvement in Tigray. It says that their presence threatens “international peace and security”. The Foundation also calls for sanctions against Eritrea and its leaders.
  • The Foundation says that Eritrea “has exported its long-standing violations oÍ human rights with impunity”. It has done so not only in Eritrea and Tigray, but is also exporting it to Europe and the US through an intricate network of coercion. Three Eritrean traffickers have been arrested since the UNSC last looked at Eritrean involvement in human trafficking in Libya. 
  • The UN Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia is concerned about the Eritrean involvement in Northern Ethiopia and afraid it could spread to other states. The Commission calls on the UNSC to take action to prevent the destabilisation of the Horn. 
  • An article by Martin Plaut illustrates the Eritrean government’s use of foreign festivals to maintain control over the diaspora and to raise funds for the government. USD 1.5 million was sent to Eritrea following a festival in Bologna. 
  • He adds that this year, the festivals have run into trouble in many European countries, as they are cancelled by authorities due to hate speech or the danger “of confrontation or protest”.
  • US Special Horn envoy Mike Hammer will be visiting Mekelle, with no date(s) indicated. 
  • The US state department says that it is committed to “Ethiopia’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity” and that only lasting peace can bring prosperity to Ethiopia. 
  • Ukraine says that it will be sending 28,600 tons of grain to Somalia. President Putin said the same day that he was looking into revising the deal, and restricting the export of grain. 
  • The UNSC held a meeting on Somalia on Wednesday. It discussed the government that has been established as well as the impending famine. 

Links of interest
The central bank of Ethiopia bans local deals in Forex: Bloomberg
BBC Amharic: ተመድ በሱዳን የስደተኞች መጠለያ ወታደራዊ ምልመላ ይደረግ እንደነበረ መረጃው አለኝ አለ
Statement Attributable to the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia
Eritrea’s foreign festivals: support, finance, and defiance from the diaspora
Ukraine says grain coming to Somalia, but Russia skeptical
Sudan sends huge military reinforcements to border with Ethiopia
Twitter: UNSC meeting postponed
Twitter: US State department 
Twitter: Ethiopian gov freezing bank accounts 
Twitter: Ukraine export of grain to Somalia 
Twitter: Tigrayan negotiators in Addis Ababa 
Facebook: Open letter to the UNSC
Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Ethiopia
Avoiding the Abyss as War Resumes in Northern Ethiopia
Somalia: UN envoy calls for collaboration to achieve new administration’s goals

 
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 info@eepa.be any additional information and corrections.