Tag Archives: Abiy Ahmed

Ethiopia: rockets hit Amhara region

Brussels, 20.11.2020 Ethiopia’s Tigray region militia fired rockets on November 20 at the distant capital of the neighbouring Amhara region, Amhara authorities said, raising worries the conflict could degenerate into civil war.

The illegal TPLF group have launched a rocket attack around 1:40 a.m. in Bahir Dar,” the Amhara government’s communications office said, referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. The rockets caused no damage, it said.

Bahir Dar, Amhara region’s lakeside capital, is located hundreds of miles from the fighting in Tigray. Tigrayan refugees have told Reuters the Amhara militia is fighting on the government side, and the two regions have a border dispute. (Image: Tigray Christians congregation).

A local journalist and another resident in Bahir Dar said they heard two explosions and had been told by people in the area that at least one missile hit near the airport.

“On Ethiopia, the situation in the Tigray region, the ethnic-targeted violence, the allegations of atrocities and the human rights abuses are of deep concern. There is a real danger of an imminent and major humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia and in the close region. We are very much concerned about these prospects and we have reiterated our calls for dialogue and to stop violence and return to dialogue” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said, commenting on results of the Foreign Affairs Council, on November 19.

“I briefed Ministers about my calls with Ethiopian and regional partners, to whom I expressed my concerns and the European Union’s readiness to support a peaceful solution and an inclusive dialogue. There has been an intensive diplomatic outreach at different levels to stakeholders that could influence the two parties. The Commission has informed the Council about the mobilisation of financial resources to try to help the Ethiopian refugees that have fled the region, the conflict, to the neighbouring countries – mainly Sudan”  the EU diplomat explained.

Ethiopia: “final & crucial” military operation

Ethiopian military in Somalia have “disarmed” between 200 and 300 of their ethnic Tigray militia over the past week as conflict rages in the northern Ethiopian region, Reuters news agency reports, referring to their anonymous security and diplomatic sources.

The soldiers’ weapons were removed due to concerns over the their loyalty, the sources said, without detailing the process. They said they included bilateral and African Union troops.

The Ethiopian government, a military spokesman and African Union (AU) peacekeeping force did not react upon calls and messages of media for comment. An Ethiopian government taskforce on Wednesday, November 18, denied the authorities were targeting ethnic Tigrayans in any way.

Ethiopian troops began fighting forces from the northern region of Tigray earlier this month after what the government described as a surprise attack by Tigrayan forces on a military camp stationed there.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has declared that “the final and crucial” military operation will launch in the coming days against the government of the country’s rebellious Tigray region, France 24 television reports.

Two diplomatic sources said the disarmed men were believed to be confined to their bases in Somalia and a security source said a deputy commander in one of the military sectors was among those who had been disarmed.

Ehtiopia: Tigray region conflict escalates

Brussels, 14.11.2020 The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls Tigray, said it had targeted the two sites in Amhara state and warned of further strikes. Tension between Ethiopia’s government in Addis Ababa and the TPLF in Mekelle has escalated into military clashes in the past month. Reportedly hundreds have died, with reports of a civilian massacre emerging this week. However the information is limited due to shutdown of the internet, and ban of press access to the region. (Image above: UN source).

However the Amnesty International NGO said it had confirmed that “scores, and likely hundreds of people were “stabbed or hacked to death” in the town of Mai-Kadra (or May Cadera) on 9 November. The experts confirmed the gruesome images of the massacre were authentic.

Prime Minister Abiy ordered a military operation against the TPLF earlier this month after he accused them of attacking a military camp hosting federal troops – claims the TPLF vividly denied.
There have since been a number of clashes and air strikes in the region.

The ongoing military operation of the Ethiopian army has forced at least 17,000 civilians to cross the border into Sudan, according to the UN sources, which has also published a video on their site.

Ethiopia: Borrell conveys concern

“Over the past days, I have been holding talks to support efforts to restore peace and political dialogue in Ethiopia” reads the statement of Josep Borrell (pictured) on the latest developments in Ethiopia.

“During my talks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, I conveyed the EU’s concern for the risks to the integrity of the country and the stability of the wider region should the current situation endure. In this regard, I have offered the support of the EU for any action contributing to de-escalation of tensions, return to dialogue and securing rule of law throughout Ethiopia” the EU top diplomat continued.

“In talks with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, of Sudan, in his capacity as Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and with Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, I renewed the EU’s support to any initiative of IGAD and the African Union to address the situation”.
“Additional consultations have occurred with other partners in the wider region and will continue”.
“Stability in the region remains a priority for the European Union”.

EU urges Ethiopians to de-escalate

“The EU is monitoring the unfolding events in Ethiopia, in particular military action around Tigray, with deep concern”, – the European External Action Service (@eu_eeas) spokesperson stated, while reacting upon the reported military operations taking place in the north of Ethiopia on November 4, Wednesday.
All parties must act to reduce tension and de-escalate the situation. Failure to do so risks destabilising the country as well as the wider region. Building a national consensus through an inclusive national dialogue, comprising all the relevant political actors, is now more important than ever. This was the key message from High Representative Josep Borrell on Monday, November 2. The European Union is firmly committed to supporting reforms in Ethiopia initiated under Prime Minister Abyi’s government and reiterates that the only way to ensure the success of this endeavour is to uphold the rule of law while respecting human rights. This will also guarantee the possibility of free, fair and credible elections in 2021.”

Heavy fighting erupted in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region on Wednesday, November 4, diplomatic sources said, after the Prime minister Abiy Ahmed launched military operations in response to what he said was an “attack on federal troops”.

Prime Minister says he has ordered a military response to an “attack” by the ruling party of the Tigray region on a camp housing federal troops.

Tensions have been mounting since September, when Tigray held regional elections in defiance of the federal government, which assessed the vote “illegal”. In recent days, both parties accused each other of plotting a military conflict.

On November 4 early hours the local ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), tried to commit a theft of artillery and other equipment from federal forces stationed there, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said.

“The last red line has been crossed with this morning’s attacks and the federal government is therefore forced into a military confrontation,” it said, adding that the aim was to prevent instability engulfing the country and region.

The prime minister’s spokesman Billene Seyoum confirmed that military operations in Tigray had commenced, without providing further detail. A number of diplomatic sources in Addis Ababa said heavy fighting, including artillery fire, had broken out in the northern region Tigray, which borders Eritrea.

Tigray’s local government said the Northern Command of the federal military, which is stationed in the region, had defected to its side, a statement which Billene described as “false information”.

The Prime minister’s office said the federal government had declared a six-month state of emergency in Tigray
to be overseen by the chief of staff of the armed force.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.

The prize is also meant to recognise all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions.

Amendement :

Ethiopia: Oromo arrests

3.10.2020 Ethiopia’s Oromiya region police have arrested 503 people on accusations of planning to incite violence during an annual Thanksgiving festival – Irreecha – this weekend and seized guns and hand grenades, the state affiliated Fana news agency reported.

Fana Broadcasting also reported on Octobere 2 that police and intelligence services had foiled what they said were plans to incite violence in Addis Ababa and other parts of Ethiopia ahead of the Irreecha festival of the Oromo, the country’s largest ethnic group.

The latest arrests happened a week after Ethiopia’s attorney general said about 2,000 people had been charged over deadly violence after the killing of popular Oromo musician and activist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa in June.

Fana News Agency, quoting Oromiya region police commissioner Ararsa Merdasa, said on October 1 officers seized guns and hand grenades during the arrests, ahead of a celebration in the capital Addis Ababa on Saturday, October 3, and in Bishoftu in the Oromiya region of Ethiopia on Sunday, October 4.

In the violence following Haacaaluu Hundeessaa assassination in June, at least 166 people were killed. More than 9,000 people were arrested, including some politicians from Oromiya, Ethiopia’s most populous province.

Long-suppressed frustrations frequently explode into ethnic violence.

Last year’s Irreecha festival in Addis Ababa was held peacefully amid tight security. But in 2016, a stampede, triggered by a clash between police and protesters during celebrations in Bishoftu, south of the capital, left more than 50 dead.

Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, is one of the continent’s fastest growing economies and is due to hold elections next year.

Decades of frustration over government repression and democratic reforms by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office in April 2018, have emboldened regional power-brokers keen to challenge the ruling party.

Ethiopia Grand Dam dispute

In his speech to the United Nations the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that Ethiopia has “no intention” of harming Sudan and Egypt with a giant hydropower dam on the Blue Nile that has caused a bitter water dispute between the three African countries.

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan failed to strike a deal on the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam before Ethiopia began filling the reservoir behind the dam in July, the move which has risen concerns of damages to the farmers along the Nile, deprived of water supply. However the three states have returned to African Union (AU) -led mediation.

“I want to make it abundantly clear that we have no intention to harm these countries,” he told the 193-member U.N. General Assembly in a video statement, pre-recorded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to addressing the concerns of downstream countries and reaching a mutually beneficial outcome in the context of the ongoing AU-led process,” Nobel Peace Laureate Abiy said.

Tensions between neighbours escalated this year, as the U.S.-brokered negotiations between Ethiopia and Egypt untangled and new talks mediated by the African Union began. Two issues are at the core: what will happen during a drought and what will happen in case of dispute. In terms of the former, Egypt wants the pace of the reservoir filling to be dependent on rains, to ensure a minimum flow if there’s a drought; Ethiopia says such a guarantee is unacceptable. And in terms of disputes, Egypt and Sudan want a resolution mechanism with binding results, but Ethiopia doesn’t.

Tigray region counts ballots

Tigray region held regional elections on September 9, in spite of protests of the federal government and increasing political tensions in Ethiopia.

While Prime Minister Abiy has ruled out military intervention, there are fears that any punitive measures by the federal government could further escalate tensions.

The Tigray defiance of the federal government is the latest challenge to the administration of Nobel Peace Price winner Abiy, who is struggling to hold together a federation that assembles Ethiopia’s more than 80 ethnic groups.

The regional officials, holding polls for the 190-seat Tigray parliament, warned that any intervention by the federal government would amount to a “declaration of war”.

They objected to the postponement of the national and regional elections, originally scheduled for August, explained by the coronavirus pandemic and the extension of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s time in office.

The local sources said results will be announced by September 13.

On, Ethiopia’s upper house of parliament, which mediates constitutional disputes, ruled that the polls for regional parliaments and other positions were unconstitutional, announcing the assessment on September 5, which did not stop Tigray region to continue with election timetable.

EU calls Ethiopians for inclusive dialogue

«The EU calls all sides to restrain from violent reactions, and appease tensions» said the European External Action Service spokesperson, while commenting on the situation in Tigray region of Ethiopia, where the elections to the regional 190 seats parliament were declared unilaterally, refusing to postpone them due to pandemic sanitary restrictions.
The Tigray electorate intends to drop ballots on September 9, provoking political tensions between regional and federal delegates, interpreting the Constitution.

«The EU encourages and supports the inclusive, and comprehensive dialogue between all political parties at federal and regional levels in order to organise next general elections in coordinated way» she continued. «The EU intends to deploy an electoral observation mission for the general elections, and will pay special attention to the conditions of its organisation through the electoral process. The EU follow closely the situation in Ethiopia, including through out EU delegation».

The EU spokesperson also quoted the declaration of the House of Federation of Ethiopia, qualifying the decision of the regional parliament of Tigray region as «unconstitutional».

Ethiopia is the key EU partner in the region, while development cooperation is one of the largest in Africa and in the world, amounting to more than €800 million for the period 2014-2020. The significance of the partnership with Ethiopia has been underlined with the symbolism of the first working foreign visit of the new European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to Addis Ababa.

However in spite of the calls for coordinated  action from Addis Ababa and abroad, the Office of Electoral Commission of the National Regional State of Tigray said 2672 polling stations were ready for tomorrow’s regional election. Some 2.7 million people are expected to cast their votes from 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM, the Commission said.
The information about the upcoming vote is limited because the independent observers, and members of the press were not allowed to enter the region.

The elections are just the latest example of how Tigrayan officials are increasingly acting like leaders of an independent state, creating a political standoff, which evokes a great deal of interest and concern abroad. Back in June the Federal election officials said the elections had “no legal basis”, and the upper house of parliament ruled they were “null and void”. On September 5 Ethiopia upper house of parliament, the House of Federation, called the formation of an electoral board in the region illegal and said any actions taken by it would be unenforceable, state-controlled Broadcasting Corporation reported from Addis Ababa.

In recent days, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed office has instructed the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority to call journalists working for foreign media outlets to pressure them not to cover the vote. On September 7, intelligence agents barred several journalists from boarding a flight from Addis Ababa to Mekele.

The International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank revealed that some federal officials have raised the possibility of retaliating by taking economic “punitive” action against the Tigray government – for instance, by withholding financial grants, which amount to half the region’s budget.

Approximately 3 million people are expected to vote in the September 9 regional election, according to the Tigray Regional Electoral Commission, and results are expected to be announced by September 13. Five parties are participating, including the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and other smaller regional parties such as the Tigray Independence Party, which is focused on for the secession of the region from Ethiopia. However not all the parties in the region entered the standoff with Addis Ababa – the Prosperity Party and the Tigray Democratic Party are both boycotting the elections.

Ethiopia death toll rising to 239

The death toll from protests and violence outbreak in Ethiopia last week following the assassination of a popular Oromo singer and and activist Hachalu Hundessa has risen to 239, according to announcement of the authorities.

“Due to the unrest that occurred in the region, nine police officers, five militia members and 215 civilians have lost their lives,” acting police commissioner Mustafa Kedir said on state television on July 8.

Hachalu, 34, was killed on June 29, sparking unrest that spread from Oromia community where he was considered as an emblematic figure.

The motive of the assassins remains unclear. Previously Hachalu had received death threats. His songs focused on the rights of the Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, and became anthems in a wave of protests that led to the downfall of the previous prime minister in 2018.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in a televised speech a day after Hachalu assassination, said that “internal and external forces” were responsible. The same forces, he alleged, were trying to prevent the singer from being taken back to his place of birth for burial.

Security forces made a number of arrests after a dispute at Hachalu’s funeral over whether the place of burial should be in the capital Addis Ababa or his birthplace of Ambo, some 100 kilometers to the west of the capital.

The Ethiopian government shut down internet in the entire country on June 30, after protests erupted in capital Addis Ababa and surrounding areas against the assassination of Oromo musician and social activist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa.

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