Situation in Tigray, Situation in Ethiopia, Regional Situation (per 21 October)

Situation in Tigray (per 21 October)

  • Anonymous diplomatic sources confirm that ENDF and EDF forces are converging on the Tigrayan city of Axum, 220 km away from Mekelle.
  • Emeritus professor and physical geographer Jan Nyssen of Ghent University estimates that between 437 and 914 Tigrayans die of hunger every day. 
  • Jan Nyssen also said that the EU will not condemn Turkish sales of drones to Ethiopia because it would put the sale of drones to Ukraine up for discussion.
  • The Tigrai Universities Scholars Association (TUSA) urged the United Nations Security Council to condemn Eritrea as an aggressor in the escalating war in Ethiopia and to take concrete action.
  • The Catholic Archbishop Abune Tesfaselassie says that the Adigrat Eparchy is unable to reach its believers in occupied territories across the Tigray region.
  • A doctor from Ayder Hospital in Mekelle says that many diabetic patients are dying due to lack of insulin.
  • Source states that Getachew Reda, spokesperson for the Tigray government, confirmed the Tigrayans authorities would attend the peace talks in South Africa.

Situation in Ethiopia (per 21 October)

  • France’s Ministry of Finance and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) have signed an agreement with Ethiopia for €5 million (260 million Birr) for the preservation and restoration of the churches of Lalibela and heritage development around the city.
  • AFD demonstrates today its strong support to Ethiopian authorities and Lalibela communities to preserve and promote their unique heritage in Lalibela,” stated AFD country director Valérie Tehio.
  • Addis Standard states that more than 3 million people are expected to vote in the referendum on the formation of a 12th region in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) regional state.

Regional Situation (per 21 October)

  • Sudan Tribune reports that 155 people were killed in tribal clashes on the outskirts of the Wad al-Mahi locality in the Blue Nile State of Sudan on 19 and 20 October. 
  • The conflict is reported to be around claims to land disputed by the Hausa and the Berta tribes.
  • Wad al-Mahi’s Commissioner, Abdelaziz al-Amin, called for UN aid for the victims and stated security forces were deployed to disarm and disperse tribal gatherings.
  • Sudan Tribune reports that President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and Ngok Dinka leaders from Abyei discussed the final status of the disputed Abyei region. 

International Situation (per 21 October)

  • The United Nations Security Council held a private meeting to discuss the situation in northern Ethiopia on 21 October. The meeting was requested by Gabon, Ghana and Kenya.
  • The briefers are expected to have been OCHA Director of Operations and Advocacy Ghada Eltahir Mudawi and AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa Olusegun Obasanjo.
  • The African Union Peace and Security Council is also meeting today (21 October). The Council expressed concern over the hostilities in Ethiopia and expressed support for the AU-led peace process.
  • The United Nations Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, Alice Nderitu, said that targeting of civilians based on their ethnicity or perceived affiliation to the warring parties is a key feature of the war in Tigray and this is worsened by heightened levels of hate speech and incitement to violence.
  • Nderitu urges tech companies to stop and prevent the onslaught of hate speech fueling the human rights violations and war  crimes in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
  • The European Union has imposed sanctions on Iran for its continued sales of drones to Russia. The 20 October decision comes a day after the US State Department said that the transfer of drones from Iran to Ethiopia is a violation of UNSC resolution 2231. There has been mounting evidence of Iran supplying drones to Ethiopia since 2021. 
  • The US State Department added the “circumstances are not different” when it comes to Iran’s sales of drones to Russia or Ethiopia. “The use and the transfer of Iranian-made UAVs in all of these circumstances […] would have made them a violation then, as they are a violation now.”
  • Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU, states the EU stands in solidarity with the statement of Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, on the escalation of the fighting in Ethiopia.
  • Secretary of State Blinken has met with UN Secretary General Guterres to discuss, among other things, the situation in Ethiopia. Blinken expressed “grave concern about the intensification of fighting in northern Ethiopia and the risk of mass atrocities.”
  • Blinken emphasised cessation of hostilities, resumption of humanitarian access, good faith negotiations in the AU framework and withdrawal of Eritrean forces.

Links of interest
Ethiopia Steps Up Offensive Against Tigray Rebels 
Adigrat Eparchy unable to reach its believers in occupied territories of Tigray
Twitter: Fasika Amdeslasie MD FCS-ECSA MHPE
Geographer Jan Nyssen: Hundreds of starvation deaths a day in Tigray 
Twitter:  Mwangi: TPLF says they’re are ready for the peace talks scheduled on Monday in #SouthAfrica. 
Ethiopia: France, through AFD, Commits to Preparing a New Program 
S. Sudan’s Kiir, leaders hold talks over final status of Abyei 
Over three million people expected to vote in referendum to form Ethiopia’s 12th regional state 
Over 155 killed in tribal violence in Sudan’s Blue Nile region 
Department of State Daily Press Briefing – October 20, 2022 – 1:45 PM 
Ethiopia: Private Meeting : What’s In Blue : Security Council Report
UN genocide official says hate speech is fueling Ethiopia’s war
Twitter: Josep Borrell Fontelles The EU stands by the statement of UNSG @antonioguterres 
EU slaps sanctions on Iran drone maker, military officers
Department Press Briefing – October 19, 2022
Secretary Blinken’s Call with UN Secretary-General Guterres