Situation Report EEPA HORN No. 126 – 14 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.

Reported Situation in Tigray (as per 13 April)

  • Fierce fighting between Eritrean troops and Tigray forces has been reported in the Central and North western zones of Tigray.
  • TMH reported that ENDF’s chief of staff, General Birhanu Jula has travelled to Asmara to meet his counterpart General Filipos Weldeyohanes of Eritrea.
  • Reports of ENDF military forces reinforcement to the Southern and Mekelle areas of Tigray region.
  • The spokesperson of Tigray defence forces told Dimtsi Weyane (DW) International TV that on 05 April 2021, Tigray forces attacked the ENDF in Entecho, Central Zone and 11 soldiers were killed including  Colo. Aynew Bedru, deputy division commander and 10 others were injured.
  • The spokesperson added that on 08 April 2021, Tigray forces launched a  sudden attack on an Eritrean forces convoy travelling from Adwa using a Volvo car and 35 Eritrean soldiers including a Colonel were killed and 45 were injured.
  • “On 09 April 2021, an operation was undertaken in Adibelow, Eastern Tigray. Accordingly, Eritrean troops of 4 infantry divisions (39, 63, 17, 53); one Mechanized division (42), and one commando brigade of division 525 was attacked by Tigrayan forces,” said the spokesperson.
  • In the operation, 1720 Eritrean soldiers including Capt. Ibrahim Adem were killed, 1215 soldiers were injured and many RPGs, Snipers and other military equipment were captured.
  • The spokesperson also said on 11 April 2021, the Tigray forces suddenly attacked a military convoy passing through Higumbureda, a place between Korem and Maychew, Southern Tigray. In the operation, 50 ENDF soldiers were killed and 73 have been injured. The cars were also burnt.
  • In another event, on 8 April 2021 in Gereb Agew, 5 cars moving from Adi Keyih to Mekhoni, Southern Tigray were ambushed killing 70 ENDF troops and wounding more than 110.
  • On 8 April 2021 in Ahferom, 35 Eritrean troops were killed, 45 wounded and a colonel was also killed.
  • Tigrayan regional forces have claimed that they killed 12.500 people in the last two weeks alone.
  • MSF says in the morning of 12 April 2021, 18 wounded people were brought to the MSF supported Kidane Meheret hospital in Adwa, Central Tigray.
  • Later, 11 critically injured patients were transferred to Axum hospital, a facility also supported by MSF.
  • According to MSF, injured patients say soldiers opened fire on them near Adwa bus station.
  • MSF said it is concerned about the ongoing violence in Tigray and urges for respect of people’s lives.
  • Reported that the drinking water system of many areas in the Tigray region was intentionally destroyed by the Ethiopain and Eritrean forces.
  • Many water pump generators were also looted by Eritrean troops.
  • Reported that veterinary clinics which were providing health service to livestocks in the Central Zone of Tigray have been looted and destroyed by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces.
  • An ENDF General, Bacha Debele says the junta group (TPLF), which was operating in eight areas of the Tigray region, was completely destroyed.
  • “In the Tigray region, small trainers and junta leaders’ guards were attacked and arrested,” adds Bacha.
  • Five months ago, ENDF’s chief of staff, Gen. Birhanu Jula, said “the junta group” had been destroyed.
  • Reported that Commander of ENDF’s Northern Command, General Belay Seyoum has been removed from his post by the order of senior Eritrean commanders.
  • Reported that General Kindu Geazu is appointed as Commander of the ENDF’s Northern Command.
  • Tghat has published an article which refutes the idea that ENDF troops are not committing crimes in Tigray. Instead it says ENDF troops are committing as many crimes, if not more than Eritrean troops.
  • Among others, Ethiopian troops have committed massacres in Mahbere Dego, Debre Abay, Bora Selowa, Adi Hageray, and Chercher.
  • ENDF troops have also been involved in indiscriminate shelling of towns and cities, including Mekelle.
  • A recent OCHA report says that at least half of Tigray remains hard to reach. The remaining parts of the region are partially accessible. Only Mekelle and its surrounding regions are “accessible”.
  • The same report says that 700 thousand people in need are in accessible areas, over 3 million in partially accessible areas, and over 500 thousand people in areas that are difficult to access.

Reported Situation in the Horn region(as per 13 April)

  • Djibouti says the conflict in Tigray is hampering economic recovery and cooperation in the region.
  • Ethiopia accuses Sudan as the main actor in jeopardizing the peace and security of the Horn of Africa.
  • Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry has informed UN SD of Ethiopia’s disputed dam situation.

Reported International situation (as per 13 April)

  • EU envoy to the Horn of Africa and Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto says human rights violations are ongoing in Tigray.
  • He said it was very clear that civilian victims are still coming into the hospital and it is totally overcrowded at the moment. Other health systems have been looted or destroyed.
  • The envoy also said he did not see a military solution to the conflict.
  • USAID says they are airlifting 1,500 rolls of heavy-duty plastic sheeting to contribute to emergency shelter efforts for more than 82,500 people affected by the ongoing conflict in Tigray region.
  • According to the USAID an estimated one million people have fled their homes many of whom are now sleeping outside or in crowded shelters.
  • “It is critically important that all parties ensure unhindered humanitarian access, but humanitarian assistance alone will not address the root of this crisis,” USAID added.
  • The USAID urges an immediate end to the conflict and cessation of hostilities, immediate and complete withdrawal of Eritrean forces, and an end to the deployment of Amhara regional forces in Tigray are essential first steps.

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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