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IPIS Briefing December 2020 – Ethiopia-Tigray Conflict

Sudan declares full control of border territory settled by Ethiopians | 31 December 2020 | Reuters

Sudan said on Thursday its forces had taken control of all of Sudanese territory in a border area settled by Ethiopian farmers, after weeks of clashes.

Is Ethiopia the Next Yugoslavia? | 31 December 2020 | Foreign Policy

A country that once seemed to hold great promise for peaceful democratization has descended into conflict. Here’s what could happen next.

Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict revives bitter disputes over land | 30 December 2020 | Business Recorder

As rifle-toting militiamen fired celebratory rounds into the air, young men marched through the streets denouncing the former ruling party of Ethiopia’s Tigray region as “thieves.”

Reuters cameraman detained in Ethiopia has seen no evidence against him, lawyer says | 30 December 2020 | Reuters

Reuters cameraman Kumerra Gemechu has been held in solitary confinement for nearly a week without charge or being given any evidence of wrongdoing, his lawyer said.

Arrest of Cameraman in Ethiopia Signals Wider Crackdown | 29 December 2020 | NYT

The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has stepped up the arrests of journalists since going to war in the country’s northern region of Tigray.

Tigray crisis: Eritrea’s role in Ethiopian conflict | 28 December 2020 | BBC News

In a sign of the changing political fortunes of a man who was once a pariah, Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki has proven to be a staunch ally of Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize winner and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, giving his troops much-needed support to fight the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in Tigray.

Ethiopian police arrest Reuters cameraman | 28 December 2020 | Reuters

A Reuters cameraman, Kumerra Gemechu, was arrested in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Thursday and will be kept in custody for at least two weeks, his family said. He has not been charged.

Ethiopia accused of war crimes in Mai Kadra massacre | 27 December 2020 | Morning Star

Investigations into potential war crimes committed during Ethiopia’s military offensive against the northern Tigray region must be impartial, thorough and transparent, the United Nations said today.

Ethiopia: Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union | 25 December 2020 | Council of the EU

The European Union is closely following the crisis in Ethiopia. The EU remains concerned by the humanitarian situation, as well as allegations of human rights violations and ethnic targeting. Ongoing reports of non-Ethiopian involvement raise additional worries.

The secret war in Tigray | 23 December 2020 | Ethiopia Insight

The intervention has been covert to mask the involvement of Eritrean troops, control the narrative, and obscure civilian suffering. International action is needed.

Eritrea: Who Will Call Out Eritrea’s War Crimes in Tigray? | 23 December 2020 | African Arguments | AllAfrica

Eritrea has deployed most of its army in Tigray region of Ethiopia. This is no secret. At minimum, 12 divisions have been fighting inside Tigray. At first, the United States gave Eritrea a free pass, expressing “thanks to Eritrea for not being provoked” into retaliating after a TPLF rocket attack on Asmara. Later it admitted that Eritrea was a belligerent. The United Nations Secretary General repeated Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed’s assertion that Eritrean troops had not crossed the border. The Chairperson of the African Union has carefully said nothing on the issue.

U.N. pushes for war crimes probe in Tigray (video) | 23 December 2020 | Reuters

The United Nations has appealed for tens of millions of dollars to help refugees from Ethiopia’s Tigray and wants a team on the ground in the northern Ethiopian region to investigate alleged violations of human rights.

Violations of International Law Imperil Civilians in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region | 22 December 2020 | VoA News

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, is warning that civilians in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are in extreme peril amid allegations of widespread violations, some possibly amounting to war crimes.

Tigray: Hundreds of civilians reported killed in artillery strikes, warns UN rights chief | 22 December 2020 | UN News

Reports of artillery strikes on civilians and mass killings of non-combatants in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, must be investigated and full access granted to independent investigators, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday.

Le Tigré, en Ethiopie, une région en souffrance | 22 December 2020 | RTBF

L’Ethiopie est un pays d’Afrique particulièrement marqué par la diversité de ses peuples. On y trouve plus de 80 ethnies différentes dispersées géographiquement. Cette diversité de cultures fait de l’Ethiopie une terre particulièrement riche mais aussi fertile aux conflits.

Éthiopie: un rapport documente les atrocités commises dans le Tigré | 20 December 2020 | RFI

Depuis le début du conflit dans le Tigré, au nord de l’Éthiopie, le 4 novembre, près de 50 000 réfugiés ont traversé la frontière pour trouver refuge au Soudan voisin. Leurs témoignages ont été recueillis par la presse internationale qui s’est fait l’écho de leurs histoires individuelles. Un rapport basé sur plusieurs de ces témoignages, publié le vendredi 18 décembre, permet de mieux comprendre ce qui s’est déroulé, pendant un mois, dans cette province éthiopienne coupée du monde.

Éthiopie: poursuite des combats au Tigré, menace d’extension du conflit | 19 December 2020 | RFI

En Éthiopie, les combats continuent au Tigré sans que l’on puisse savoir exactement où ils se situent car les télécommunications sont toujours coupées dans l’ensemble de la province. Cela fait désormais 45 jours que le Premier ministre Abiy Ahmed a lancé son offensive. Une opération qu’il estime terminée bien qu’aucun des leaders du parti du tigréen TPLF n’ait été arrêté pour le moment.

Ethiopia offers reward for word on fugitive Tigrayan leaders | 18 December 2020 | Reuters

Ethiopia offered a 10 million birr ($260,000) reward on Friday for information on the location of fugitive leaders of a rebellious force in northern Tigray region.

The War in Tigray Is a Fight Over Ethiopia’s Past—and Future | 18 December 2020 | Foreign Policy

The current conflict is the latest battle in a long-running war over the country’s identity as a unitary or federal state. The United States can restore its credibility as an honest broker by helping resolve it.

Sudan claims its officers were ambushed by Ethiopian forces | 17 December 2020 | DefenceWeb

A number of Sudan armed forces officers were ambushed by “Ethiopian forces and militias” during a security patrol of the border region.

Inside a Military Base in Ethiopia’s Tigray: Soldiers Decry Betrayal by Former Comrades | 17 December 2020 | US News

Rebellious soldiers used government tanks to attack their former comrades in a military base in the first chaotic days of Ethiopia’s month-long war in the region of Tigray, according to two soldiers caught in what they described as a 10-day siege.

Ethnic profiling of Tigrayans heightens tensions in Ethiopia | 16 December 2020 | The New Humanitarian

The fighting between Ethiopia’s federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) wasn’t a surprise to Tigrayans living in Addis Ababa: They had seen it coming for years. What they didn’t expect was to be living in fear so far away from the front lines.

Did Ethiopia’s attack on Tigray violate international laws? | 15 December 2020 | The Africa Report

A legal scholar weighs in on the decision taken by Ethiopian prime minister Ahmed Abiy to send troops into the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray, to quell what the government sees as an insurgency.

Ruling party members speak of need to repeat Tigray military operation in Benishangul Gumuz as Amhara region | 15 December 2020 | Addis Standard

Members of the Benishangul Gumuz Regional State Prosperity Party (PP) Women’s League have demanded the federal government to repeat in Benishangul Gumuz regional state, Metekel Zone the ongoing “law enforcement operations in Tigray.”

Mekelle’s plight: A doctor’s account of Ethiopia’s Tigray war | 14 December 2020 | al Jazeera

Doctor at regional capital’s main hospital offers dramatic account of dire medical shortages, threat of starvation and widespread fear during the conflict.

US says reports of Eritrean troops in Ethiopia’s Tigray are ‘credible’ | 11 December 2020 | DefenceWeb

The United States believes reports of Eritrean military involvement in the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are “credible,” a State Department spokesperson told Reuters on Thursday, despite denials by both nations.

Ethiopia volatile with fighting, ethnic profiling of Tigrayans – UN rights boss | 9 December 2020 | Reuters

The situation in Ethiopia is “worrying and volatile” as fighting in the Tigray region continues amid reports of ethnic profiling of Tigrayans including in Addis Ababa, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday.

Ethiopie : Accès interdit au Tigray | 9 December 2020 | Sahel Intelligence

Le Secrétaire général de l’ONU, Antonio Guterres, a exhorté le gouvernement éthiopien à rétablir rapidement l’état de droit au Tigray et assurer un accès sans entrave de l’aide humanitaire dans la région.

Ethiopia says U.N. team shot at in Tigray after defying checkpoints | 8 December 2020 | Reuters

A United Nations team visiting refugees in Ethiopia’s war-hit Tigray region had failed to stop at two checkpoints when it was shot at over the weekend, the government said on Tuesday, proclaiming it did not need a “baby-sitter”.

Eritreans caught in dilemma over Tigray conflict | 7 December 2020 | Ethiopia Insight

Many Eritreans, including those that oppose President Isaias Afwerki’s rule, are in a dilemma regarding the conflict in Tigray. Most Eritreans agree that he is the mastermind of it and stand against any involvement by their country. There is also a die-hard few that believe he is doing this in the interests of Eritrea.

Ethiopia’s Abiy Denies Guerrilla War Emerging in Tigray | 7 December 2020 | VoA

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed denied on Monday that a rebellious northern force his troops have battled for over a month would have the capacity to mount a guerrilla war from the mountains of Tigray.

La guerre du Tigré, prélude à l’éclatement de l’Ethiopie sur le modèle de l’ex Yougoslavie ? | 6 December 2020 | Atlantico.fr

Depuis plus d’un mois déjà, une guerre particulièrement meurtrière secoue le nord de l’Ethiopie dans la province fédérale du Tigré. Elle a déjà causé des milliers de morts et plus de 50.000 réfugiés aujourd’hui accueillis dans des conditions précaires au Soudan.

‘Now I have nothing’: Tigray conflict has changed Ethiopia for ever, say refugees | 6 December 2020 | The Guardian

Before shelling by Ethiopia’s army ripped through Humera in early November, life in the airy, agricultural city in Tigray was idyllic, says Brhane Haftu, a geography teacher.

En marge du conflit au Tigré, l’armée soudanaise reprend une partie du triangle d’el-Fashaga | 6 December 2020 | RFI

La tension monte à la frontière entre l’Éthiopie et le Soudan, notamment dans la région du triangle d’el-Fashaga, une zone dont la démarcation pose problème entre les deux pays depuis des décennies. Or, à la faveur du conflit au Tigré, l’armée soudanaise a pris possession d’une partie de ce territoire agricole.

Fighting flares in Ethiopia’s Tigray as army says closing in on rebellious force | 5 December 2020 | Reuters

Bombing, looting and skirmishes persisted in parts of Ethiopia’s Tigray on Saturday, a rebellious force in the northern region said after government troops declared they were within days of capturing the group’s leaders.

Eritrea’s Role in Ethiopia’s Conflict and the Fate of Eritrean Refugees in Ethiopia | 4 December 2020 | African Arguments

In the following article, Mesfin Hagos (founding member of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) in the 1970s who served as Minister of Defense in the 1990s), the most authoritative voice on Eritrean military affairs, reveals the extent of Eritrean involvement in the Ethiopian war.

Ethiopia’s war in Tigray shows no signs of abating, despite government’s victory claims | 4 December 2020 | The Washington Post

Clashes continued across Ethiopia’s Tigray region and humanitarian aid remained paused at its border Friday, despite government claims that military operations had ceased and pledges to allow U.N. agencies access to hundreds of thousands of people who rely on them for food.

Ethiopie : les 5 clés pour comprendre la guerre au Tigré | 4 December 2020 | Agence Ecofin

Depuis plusieurs semaines, la région du Tigré en Ethiopie est le théâtre d’un conflit sanglant entre le gouvernement central siégeant à Addis-Abeba et le Front pour la libération du peuple du Tigré (TPLF). Au cœur de ce nouvel épisode de guerre civile, des revendications indépendantistes du TPLF qui ne reconnaît plus l’autorité du pouvoir central. Mais les racines de ce conflit sont plus profondes. Il est en réalité le résultat de frustrations et de tensions accumulées, dues au passé politique de l’Ethiopie et à son système de gouvernance. Décryptage.

Ethnic Cleansing Feared as Ethiopia Wages War on Tigray Region Amid Communication Blackout | 3 December 2020 | DemocracyNow

The United Nations has reached a deal with Ethiopia’s government to allow humanitarian access to the northern Tigray region and start providing aid. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched military action against regional forces one month ago, setting off a bloody conflict and adding to the already alarming number of displaced people and refugees in the country and neighboring nations.

Why Ethiopia’s Tensions Are Boiling Over in Tigray | 3 December 2020 | The Washington Post

Long-standing tensions between Ethiopia’s federal government and the northern state of Tigray have escalated into all-out conflict. In early November, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the military to respond to a raid on an army camp in the restive region. After almost four weeks of fighting, Abiy said his forces had taken full control of Tigray.

Le Tigré sera-t-il le tombeau de l’Éthiopie ? | 3 December 2020 | Le Point

ANALYSE. La rébellion au Tigré menace d’aboutir à une sécession qui pourrait en entraîner d’autres et mettre à mal le fédéralisme ethnique éthiopien. Voilà pourquoi.

Tigray: War drums were sounding for two years | 3 December 2020 | The Standard

I grew up in Ethiopia during the days of the military government. For years before its overthrow in 1991, the national army was locked in a protracted war against rebel movements in the north. It was common in those days to hear state media reporting the capture or recapture of towns from rebel forces. The parading of prisoners of war made daily headlines.

Ethiopia war may turn into guerrilla insurgency, experts say | 2 December 2020 | DefenceWeb

Ethiopia’s nearly month-long war against rebellious northern forces may be transforming into a guerrilla conflict, experts said on Tuesday, even though federal troops declared victory after capturing the Tigrayan regional capital at the weekend.

Éthiopie : les principales dates du conflit armé au Tigré | 30 November 2020 | TV5 Monde

Les hôpitaux de Mekele sont débordés. Depuis l’annonce de la prise de contrôle de la capitale du Tigré par le gouvernement éthiopien, les blessés affluent. Les civils sont les premières victimes de la vaste opération militaire lancée le 4 novembre par le Premier ministre Abiy Ahmed. Aucun bilan précis n’est disponible, mais plus de 43.000 Ethiopiens ont fui au Soudan voisin. Comment est né ce conflit armé ? Qui en sont les principaux acteurs ? Rappel des faits.

Ethiopia’s PM savours victory, Tigrayan leader says war not finished | 30 November 2020 | Reuters

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed lauded his troops on Monday for ousting a rebellious northern movement, but the leader of Tigrayan forces said they were still resisting amid fears of a protracted guerrilla conflict.

Once enemies, Ethiopia and Eritrea ally against Tigray | 29 November 2020 | DW

Eritrea has been involved in the Tigray crisis in Ethiopia from day one, experts have said. But even though the two countries are fighting together against a common enemy, that does not make them friends.

Separatism in Africa: Exploring colonial legacies | 3 December 2020 | DW

Diverse secessionist movements are back in the spotlight in Africa. The Tigray Region in Ethiopia is only one example. The roots often go back to the colonial era, and some of these conflicts still smolder today.