Situation Report EEPA HORN No. 127 – 15 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.

Minors reported in the war in Tigray (as per 14 April)

  • In a video broadcasted by TMH, Biniam Fistum, a 15-year-old Eritrean soldier captured by the Tigray forces says he was forcibly taken from his home town Keren, Anseba Zone of Eritrea.
  • “I have completed grade 9 and we came to Tigray by night. They haven’t told us whether we were going to Tigray,” said Biniam.
  • He also said they were told that the war was finished and they could take military training inside Tigray.
  • “It has been four months since we came to Tigray. And we took our military training near Hagerselam town, Central Tigray for four months,” added Biniam.

Human rights violation in Tigray (as per 14 April)

  • Amnesty International (AI) confirmed that Eritrean troops killed three people and injured at least 19 in an unprovoked attack on civilians in the center of Adwa town, central Tigray on 12 April.
  • “Three people lost their lives and at least 19 are in hospital from an attack by the Eritrean troops. Deliberate attacks on civilians is prohibited by international humanitarian law and must stop,” said Sarah Jackson, AI’s Deputy regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
  • AI has spoken to witnesses and said Eritrean troops were passing through the town located in Central Tigray, when they suddenly opened fire at people on the main street close to the bus station.
  • Six witnesses told AI that some of the injured were taken to Don Bosco hospital in Adwa town, and 19 of them were rushed to Aksum referral hospital for advanced medical care.
  • A witness who works in the bus station told AI: “The Eritrean soldiers on the back of one Ural military truck and another heavy truck started shooting. We scattered into different directions. I hide in the drainage. We knew that they were Eritreans soldiers because they were swearing in Tigrigna, the heavy trucks had Eritrean number plates and Eritrean defense force camouflages. They were shooting from the backs of the moving trucks.”
  • “I was walking from my shop which is near the Pan-Africa hotel to the bus station. The shooting started immediately after the two trucks passed me. There were rickshaws on the road and the soldiers on the first truck were shouting in Tigrinya to the rickshaw drivers to clear off the road. Then the soldiers on the second truck started shooting. There were many people on the street,” said another witness.
  • According to a medical staff at Axum University Teaching and Referral Hospital, all of the people that were received at the hospital had either been shot in their chests, stomachs, legs, and hands, and six of them were in critical condition as of 13 April.
  • “One girl was in shock due to blood loss, and that other patients had suffered broken hands and legs,” added the medical staff.
  • A third witness told AI: “The Eritrean soldiers came on two heavy trucks from the Adi Abun area. I was on the road just outside of my home when the shooting started at around 8am. It was sudden and I thought there was a gunfight going on in the area. In fact, there was no fighting but just shooting at passersby. One of the deceased was killed five metres from my home. He died instantly. I saw him.”
  • AI Deputy Director Africa, Sarah Jackson, says that AI is calling for an international investigation into this and other incidents and allegations of human right violation, including war crimes and possible crime against humanity, committed in the ongoing conflict in Tigray.
  • “There must be justice and accountability for war crimes and human rights violations in Tigray. Ethiopia and Eritrea must fully cooperate with such investigations and ensure full reparation for victims and their families,” added Sarah Jackson.
  • AI also said Eritrean troops continue to carry out atrocities in Tigray and had not left Tigray.

Reported Situation in Tigray (as per 14 April)

  • Fresh deployment of Eritrean troops on 14/4/2021 to Tigray through Adiyabo and Rama has continued.
  • Reports of ENDF troops reinforcement to Mekelle Tigray on 14/4/2021. Five Antonov planes were seen landing at Alula Abanega International Airport of Mekelle, Tigray.
  • TMH reported that over 110 ENDF conveys including tanks have entered through Southern Tigray.
  • OCHA report says alarming malnutrition rates are reported in Tigray region. And some displaced sites haven’t received food since the conflict started five months ago.
  • The report said out of more than 69,000 children in Tigray screened for malnutrition, over 1,900 cases of severe acute malnutrition and over 17,700 cases of moderate malnutrition have been identified.
  • “Over half of 605 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers screened in 10 districts in early March had moderate acute malnutrition, raising the risk of increased stillbirths, miscarriages, and maternal and neonatal mortality,” added the OCHA report.

Reported Situation in the Horn region(as per 14 April)

  • Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says although Sudan is the current chair of IGAD, it is regrettable to see it as the main actor in jeopardizing the peace and security of the Horn of Africa.
  • The statement added that Sudan has invaded Ethiopia territories, plundered and displaced civilians and is beating war drums to occupy even more lands.
  • Sudan’s Prime Minister, Abdallah Hamdok has called his Egyptian and Ethiopian counterparts for a closed door meeting over the filling and operation of GERD.

Reported International situation (as per 14 April)

  • According to diplomats, at the request of the United States, the UNSC is expected to discuss the situation in the Tigray region during closed consultations on 15/4/2021.
  • Ms Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the UN SG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, told the UNSC that sexual violence continued to happen against women in Tigray region with a level of cruelty beyound comprehension.
  • She also warned that sexual violence, including gang rape, are still happening in Tigray.
  • US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield urged members of the UNSC to pay a particular attention to deeply disturbing reports of mass rape and sexual violence being committed against women and girls in the war-torn Tigray region and hold the perpetrators to account.
  • Ambassador Barbara Woodward, UK’s permanent representative to the UN, said the UK is particularly concerned by credible and widely corroborated reports of sexual violence in the Tigray region.
  • The three diplomats were speaking at the UNSC open debate on “Women, peace and security: sexual violence in conflict” where members are discussing sexual violence in conflict, especially when used as a brutal tactic of war, has left multiple devastating consequences for survivors and their families.

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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