SITUATION REPORT – HORN OF AFRICA No. 373, 16 February 2023

Peace negotiations (per 16 February)

  • General Tadesse Werede, chief commander of Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) and head of the Tigray region interim government establishing committee, told local media that the implementation of Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) Agreement has reached an “irreversible stage”, reports Dimtsi Woyane.
  • He said efforts are being made to ensure full withdrawal of Eritrean and Amhara forces from Tigray. 
  • At the press conference held yesterday 15 February, General Tadesse Werede stated that the interim government of Tigray is being established in “a democratic and participatory way”. 
  • Muluwork Kidanemariam, member of the interim government establishing committee and former head of Tigray election board, disclosed that the interim government will be established soon.
  • He said the committee is being set up by the current Tigray regional government.
  • He further added “a good command understanding has been reached with the federal government of Ethiopia on the establishment of an interim government in Tigray.”
  • He also said that “there is an internal demand for reform in Tigray” and that “most people of Tigray will be represented in the interim government.” 
  • Despite the CoH Agreement which calls for the withdrawal of foreign and non-ENDF forces, Eritrean forces still continue occupying the district of Gulo Mekeda in the eastern Zone of Tigray, according to Tigrai TV.
  • Sexual violence by Eritrean soldiers has continued in Tigray despite the CoH Agreement, victims, health workers and aid organisations told BBC.
  • Sister Mulu Mesfin, who assists rape victims at hospital in Mekelle, told BBC that women, most of whom were raped in the last one or two months, continue to come in from different parts of Tigray. 
  • Deputy Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen states that the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) “could undermine the AU-led peace process & the implementation of the Pretoria Peace Agreement with inflammatory rhetoric” at the ministerial session of the AU in Addis.
  • He added ICHREE  “could also undermine the efforts of national institutions”. 

Situation in Tigray (per 16 February)

  • The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) issued a statement yesterday (15 February) on the occasion of its 48th anniversary, demanding “complete lifting of blockade, removal of all restrictions, release of prisoners, and allocation budget to Tigray”.
  • The statement said “the struggle of the people of Tigray will continue but will change its approach from an armed one to a peace one” adding “the TPLF will deeply evaluate its past journey and redesign its policies and programs based on the objective realities on ground and needs of the people of Tigray”.
  • It also stated that the party will work to ensure “reliable peace, reconstruction, strong internal unity, accountability against those that committed genocide against the people of Tigray”.

Situation in Ethiopia (per 16 February)

  • Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) and the breakaway group of archbishops have agreed yesterday (15 February) to “end their conflict through constructive discussions” reports Addis Standard.
  • The two groups reportedly issued a joint statement that they have agreed to resolve the issues of language within the church services.
  • The religious leaders have agreed to “enhance the use of Afan Oromo language in all churches in Oromia region and allocate budget for this and other purposes.”
  • At least 50 people including youth and children residing in an IDP camp were killed in an attack between 2 and 4 February in East Wollega Zone of the Oromia region, reports Addis Standard citing the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC). 
  • Citing witnesses, the EHRC said “the attacks were perpetrated by “a large number of armed men dressed in military uniforms of the Oromo Liberation Army (commonly known as OLF/Shene)” who entered the Ano town in three different directions”. 

Regional Situation (per 16 February)

  • In a statement issued yesterday (15 February), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Sudan reported that local conflict and violence killed 991, injured 1173 and displaced 310.000 people in Sudan during 2022.
  • The report adds that humanitarian organisations have launched a program to assist 12.5 million people with a fund of 1.7 million USD. 

International Situation (per 16 February)

  • Concerned Horn of Africa experts from Civil Society Organisations and academia circulated a note calling for well-defined benchmarks in the engagement of the EU and its member states with Ethiopia.
  • The note defines milestones and benchmarks for a gradual roadmap in normalising relations.
  • A US delegation will travel to Addis Ababa between 14 and 19 February for meetings with officials on the sidelines of the AU Summit. 
  • The book ‘Understanding Ethiopia’s Tigray War’ is published (Authors: Plaut & Vaughan, Hurst, 2023)
  • Several African foreign ministers who arrived in Addis Ababa yesterday (15 February) to attend the 42nd AU Ministerial Session met with the state Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Birtukan Ayano, says Fana Broadcasting Corporation.

Links of interest

Facebook: ዝተጀመረ መስርሕ ሰላም ንድሕሪት ናብ ዘይምለሰሉ ብርኪ 
መግለፂ ኣባላት ኣሰናዳኢት ኮሚቴ ምጥያሽ ግዝያዊ መንግስቲ ትግራይ
Twitter: Tigrai TV on Eritreans occupying areas of Eastern Tigray
Ethiopian Orthodox Church leaders resolve schism through dialogue
Facebook: A statement from the TPLF 
News: Tigray region officials announce establishment of interim regional administration soon
Ethiopia war in Tigray: Eritrean soldiers accused of rape despite peace deal
AU Summit :Hashing out measures to expedite AfCFTA implementation 
FMs of African countries arrive in Addis Ababa to attend 42nd AU Ministerial Session 
News: At least 50 killed on IDPs shelter in East Wollega
Twitter: Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
OCHA’s Sudan humanitarian situation update 
High-level U.S. Government Delegation Travel to Addis Ababa
Gradual, step-by-step rapprochement with the Federal Government of Ethiopia 
Publication: Understanding Ethiopia’s Tigray War

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.