Situation in Eritrea (per 16 September)

  • Eritrea is mobilising its reservists up to the age 55  to reinforce the army along the common border with the Tigray region. Sources told the BBC that the reservists were sent to the front lines on Thursday 15 September. 
  • Raids have been conducted recently in many parts of Eritrea by the security forces to round up people for the army and to check whether stragglers have valid exemptions for military conscription, says the BBC.
  • Many in the capital of Asmara  were taken to the frontline within hours. Reservists in other parts of the country were also called to report to their main offices.
  • Sources in the country indicate that the call affects all people without exception, including staff guarding UN offices, and that failing to do so may lead to family members being thrown out of their houses or family members being detained.
  • Tigray spokesperson Getachew Reda is accusing Ethiopia of sending more of its troops to Eritrea.

Situation in Tigray (per 16 September)

  • A drone strike has been reported in the town of Shire in northwestern Tigray. Casualties and damage are unknown. Unconfirmed pictures of a damaged building and truck are circulating.
  • In separate statements on Tigrai TV, the Tigray Health Professional Association and religious leaders condemned the drone strikes on Mekelle that killed 13 civilians. 
  • Dr Aklilu Hailemichael, former foreign minister of Ethiopia and representative of the government of Tigray in Europe, said to BBC that the regional government of Tigray declared its support for the AU-led peace process. 
  • The Tigray government asks for an expert team whose members should be international partners, selected and appointed by mutual agreement, to support the AU-led process and function as guarantors. He adds that Abiy Ahmed’s government has not yet responded to this request.
  • He denounces the cooperation of the federal government, Amhara forces and Eritrean forces to try to take a control of the regional state of Tigray, by bombing homes, universities and hospitals.

Regional situation (per 16 September)

  • Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, accompanied by a high-level delegation, has arrived in Djibouti for an official visit. The two leaders signed an agreement in March 2022 to work together on security and peacekeeping issues.
  • South Sudan and Ethiopia signed a security pact on 13 September which promotes bilateral relations, says the Sudan Tribune. The agreement was signed with the participation of key security officials from both countries.
  • South Sudan’s presidential advisor on security affairs, Tut Gatluak Manime, told the Sudan Tribune that the pact would allow the two countries to cooperate on border security issues.
  • The Horn of Africa is at risk of famine similar to that experienced by Ethiopia in the 1980s, says the Washington Post. Climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine have combined to exacerbate supply difficulties across the African continent, and malnutrition is already widespread in the Horn, it says.

International Situation (per 16 September)

  • At a US Department of State press briefing, spokesman Ned Price said that Special Envoy Mike Hammer is still in the Horn of Africa. He says Hammer remains actively engaged with both sides of the Ethiopian conflict, but also with the AU and international partners to advance the peace efforts.
  • The WFP chief says resumption of fighting “threatens to push many hungry, exhausted families over the edge” in northern Ethiopia. He appeals for funding to provide fuel and basic necessities.
  • The Australian assistant Foreign minister Tim Watts said Australia calls for cessation of hostilities in Ethiopia, an AU-led peace process, and urges parties to allow humanitarian access to Tigray. 
  • The Ethiopian Embassy in Belgium says it is dismayed by the statement made by the spokesperson of the European Union External Action Service (EEAS) on 14 September. The Embassy accuses EEAS of ignoring “the blatant violations committed by the TPLF on various occasions, including that of opening the third round of conflict”. 
  • The Embassy reiterates the federal government’s commitment to the peace process.
  • The US and the EU have welcomed the appointment of former Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, as peace envoy for the conflict in Northern Ethiopia and in Eastern DRC. 
  • EU High Representative Borrell says that the EU will support the Kenyatta-led peace efforts. 
  • The US State Department Bureau of African Affairs also welcomed the appointment of Uhuru Kenyatta. It underlines that this happens at a critical time and that Kenyatta’s work will be “crucial”.

Links of interest

Eritrea mobilises reservists as Ethiopia fighting escalates

Tigray religious leaders condemns the drone strike: Tigrai TV

Call by Tigray Health Professionals Association 

Ethiopia: EU says drone strikes on Tigray endanger peace

PM Abiy Ahmed Arrives In Djibouti For An Official Visit

South Sudan, Ethiopia sign cooperation agreement

Why East Africa’s Facing Its Worst Famine in Decades 

Department Press Briefing – September 15, 2022

Twitter: WFP Chief

Twitter: Australian Statement

A response to the Statement by the Spokesperson of the EU EEAS

Twitter: State Department Bureau of African Affairs 

US welcomes appointment of Uhuru as peace envoy to Ethiopia and Eastern DRC: Addis Standard

Twitter: Josep Borrell

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