Situation Report EEPA HORN No. 122 – 08 April 2021

Horn Situation

Europe External Programme with Africa is a Belgium-based Centre of Expertise with in-depth knowledge, publications, and networks, specialised in issues of peace building, refugee protection and resilience in the Horn of Africa. EEPA has published extensively on issues related to movement and/or human trafficking of refugees in the Horn of Africa and on the Central Mediterranean Route. It cooperates with a wide network of Universities, research organisations, civil society and experts from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and across Africa. The situation reports can be found here.

Sexual Violence and Rape (as per 07 April)

  • Several refugees in Sudan told AP that they watched or listened helplessly as women were taken away by Amhara or Eritrean fighters and raped. Adhanom Gebrehanis said it was like taunting, who had arrived in Hamdayet with welts from being beaten by Eritrean soldiers on his back.
  • “They do these things openly to make us ashamed,” he said. He watched Eritrean soldiers pull aside 20 Tigrayan women and rape them. The next day, only 13 were returned. “Go” Adhanom said the Eritreans told the others: “We already have what we want.”
  • Another rape victim said her home in Humera was looted and she was sized by the Amhara militia. She was beaten to the ground for speaking her native Tigrigna by at least three men. “Let the Tigray government come and help you,” she recalled them saying. 
  • She added the Amhara militia proposed to her that: “Claim to be Amhara and we will give back your house and find you a husband. But if you claim to be Tigrayan, we will come and rape you again.”
  • “One mother and daughter had been forced to watch each other,” she said. “One woman was raped on the road, with people watching. Other accounts were worse than mine.”
  • A midwife from Adwa, cried as she recalled a 60-year-old woman who was raped vaginally and anally by Eritrean soldiers and then waited days,trying to hide the bleeding, before seeking help.
  • The midwife told AP that another woman was raped by four Eritrean soldiers while her husband hid under the bed. And her husband recounted the attack when they sought an abortion.
  • Another midwife from Humera, befriended seven women from the same village, Mai Gaba, who said they were raped separately by various fighters, including the Ethiopian federal forces.
  • “This is to harm the community psychologically,” said the midwife. They say: “Most of the people in Tigray support the (fugitive Tigray leaders). To destroy them, you must destroy Tigrayans.”

Reported Situation in Tigray (as per 07 April)

  • The Associated Press (AP) report says Tigrayans who fled to Sudan have brought proof of an official attempt at what is being called ethnic cleansing in the form of a new identity card that eliminates all traces of Tigray.
  • AP has spoken to nine refugees and written in a language not their own, issued by authorities from another ethnic group, the ID cards are the latest evidence of a systematic drive by the Ethiopain government and its allies to destroy the Tigrayan people.
  • Many refugees told the AP that Amhara authorities and allied forces in western Tigray have taken over whole communities, ordering Tigrayans out or rounding them up.
  • A nurse, told AP that the Amhara authorities now in charge of the nearby city of Humera took his original Tigrayan ID card and burned it.
  • His new ID card was examined by AP and was issued in January with Amharic language, an Amhara stamp and even the word Tigray had vanished. “I kept it to show the world,” he said.
  • He added that only 10 Tigrayans remained of the roughly 400 who worked at the hospital where he had been employed, the rest killed or fleeing. “ This is genocide…Thier aim is to erase Tigray.”
  • Another refugee, a 30-year-old who crossed the Tekeze river in early March, told AP that bodies were laid scattered near the riverbank. She estimated around 50 corpses. “ Some were face-down and some were looking up at the sky,” she added.
  • She also said a sympathetic woman from the Wolkait ethnic group pleaded with Eritrean soldiers near the river to let Alem cross, while urging her to pretend to be Wolkait.
  • Alem said her home in Humera was occupied by Amhara militia and when she asked them for her clothes, they had been burned. “Their aim is to leave no Tigrayan,” she said. “I hope there will be a Tigray for my children to go home to.”
  • Power is back in Mekelle, regional capital, after a week of blackout in the whole Tigray region.
  • The Telegraph has received the testimonies of 18 people on a massacre in Abi Addi on February 15th.
  • Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers surrounded the village and killed 182 people. They went from house to house and killed civilians.
  • Survivors also told the Telegraph that people had been killed in Adi Asmiean, Bega Sheka, Adichilo, Amberswa, Wetlaqo, Semret, Guya, Zelakme, Arena, Mitsawerki, Yeqyer and Shilum Emni.

Reported Situation in Ethiopia (as per 07 April)

  • Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Dr Seleshi Bekele, said Egypt and Sudan’s attempt to undermine the AU-led negotiation on GERD is unacceptable.
  • ”A lot of time has been lost due to the strategy pursued by Cairo and Khartoum to delay negotiations and proposed removal of South Africa from an observer role is a denial of dignity for AU,” he added.
  • The minister said: “The two countries followed an approach that seeks to undermine the AU-led process and to take the matter out of the African platform.” He added that the second filling of the GERD reservoir will continue as planned and Ethiopia expects negotiations to be completed within 8 weeks.

Reported Situation in the Horn region (as per 07 April)

  • Reports of the Sudense army repelled an Ethiopian attack near the Umm Rakuba border area.
  • The head of Sudanese Sovereign Council, al-Burhan held a meeting with senior officers of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and briefed them on the political and military situation of the country.
  • Sudan’s Irrigation and Water Resources Minister, Yasir Abbas said all options are open in front of Sudan to deal with the GERD crisis, including to seek the UN Security Council’s support. “The issue of the GERD affects Sudan’s national security and has regional repercussions,” added Abbas.
  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said his country would not allow Nile water supply to be disrupted, warning that all options are open to deal with the Ethiopian dam crisis. “I say to our Ethiopian brothers, there is no need to reach a level that you mess with a water drop of Egypt’s [Nile] water because all options are open” added Al-Sisi.
  • Al-Sisi noted that Egypt continues to coordinate with Sudan and the world to emphasize on the justice of our cause. “We understand the issue of development for the African countries relying on water, but with the condition not to affect Egypt’s water rights,” he added.
  • Egyptian Foreing Minister Sameh Shukri also said that both Egypt and Sudan show a great amount of flexibility but was stuck with Ethiopia’s rejection. He added that both countries would seek international bodies after the talks failed in Kinshasa.

Reported International situation (as per 07 April)

  • EU Envoy Pekka Haavisto has arrived in Ethiopia. After meeting with the Ethiopian President, Pekka Haavisto expressed his deep concerns on the violence against women in Tigray. He added the EU calls for an end to all violence and reiterated the importance of investigations on human rights violations and accountability.
  • EU UN said the humanitarian situation in Tigray remains very serious, threatening to destabilise the Horn of Africa. For the EU, helping to stop the human rights abuse in Tigray and restore peace in Ethiopia is a high priority.

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.

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