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SITUATION REPORT – HORN OF AFRICA No. 347, 10 January 2023

Peace negotiations (per 10 January)

  • DW reported that the AU monitoring and verification Committee has witnessed today  that TDF handed over heavy weapons to ENDF. ENDF has acknowledged it received the weapons.
  • Eritrean troops have started setting up and operating businesses in the central zone of Tigray. They are reportedly running businesses like  transport and trade in areas like Maykinetal, says Reyot.
  • It was earlier reported that in some northern Tigray areas Eritrean IDs were given out.
  • Reports that that  Eritrean troops have looted thousands of domestic animals from Enguya, located Egela and Ziban-Guiyla. 
  • Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) says the presence of Eritrean troops in Tigray is slowing down the peace process. CSW called for the International Community to “move swiftly” to “ensure that Eritrean forces” leave Tigray.
  • CSW says that the continuing presence of Eritrean troops, which are “implicated in the commission of the gravest of international crimes” threatens the peace process and security of Tigrayan civilians.
  • CSW states that Eritrea “is heavily involved in the civil unrest in Ethiopia”.
  • CSW says “the arrests and subsequent releases of the Catholic clergy occurred against the backdrop of the punitive door-to-door roundups and forcible conscription of Eritrean citizens of all ages, which continue despite the African Union-brokered cessation of hostilities” threaten the peace process.
  • A 12-hour telecom outage was reported by several sources in the night of 9 to 10 January in Mekelle. No reason for the outage was provided.  
  • Information obtained at Mekelle Airport stated that the imposed travel ban for people between 16 and 65 was imposed by the federal government. 
  • The urban and trade Bureau of Tigray confirms that fuel is being delivered to Tigray. The Bureau announced that public transport can start in the region.

Situation in Tigray (per 10 January)

Situation in Ethiopia (per 10 January)

  • The situation in Oromia is escalating, with fighting reported in Kellem (Kelam Welega), Oromia, between government forces and OLA. Reported that many soldiers are treated in Dembi Dollo hospital.
  • According to the report, the Ethiopia National Defense Forces (ENDF) entered Kellem from Benishangul and Gambella.  The federal troops are preventing OLA from fleeing into South Sudan and Sudan. 
  • The Catholic Archbishop of Addis Ababa urged the people of Ethiopia to work together to achieve lasting peace in his Christmas message.
  • The Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) issued a statement that three workers were arrested and the organisation feels intimidated. Civil Society Organizations are asking that the workers are released.
  • Jawar Mohammed, an Oromo leader, is in Kenya, reportedly for meetings with Ethiopian Government officials.
  • A committee set up by the National Bank of Ethiopia has been established to bring the Ethiopian exchange rate closer to the black market rate, as the black market rate has surged. 

Regional Situation  (per 10 January)

  • The UN Secretary General welcomed the last phase of the talks between military and civilian leaders in Sudan which started on Sunday. The talks are expected to continue for four days. 
  • The UN SG urged other stakeholders who did not sign the Political Framework Agreement on 5 December  to join the political process. In a statement, President William Ruto of Kenya expressed his support for the Agreement. 
  • Somaliland announces the first discovery of oil  in the Sallahey area of Marodi-Jeh region. Genel Energy, a UK firm, will start oil exploration and production.
  • The discovery follows two weeks after the government of Somalia in Mogadishu put a warning to Genel Energy, that it was undermining the sovereignty of Somalia, as it has not authorised the oil explorations in the break-away region of Somaliland.

International Situation (per 10  January)

  • Accused Eritrean human trafficker Tewelde Goitom (Welid) appeared at a pre-trial hearing in The Netherlands today, 10 January 2022.
  • He is accused of participating in a criminal organisation which organised kidnapping, extortion and violence, among which sexual violence.
  • He claims to be a victim of mistaken identity – his identity is currently being established by a Dutch forensics lab. The next hearing in the case will take place on 6 April 2023. 
  • The Dutch prosecution is seeking to join the case of Welid with the one of Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam, recently arrested, and also accused of violent human trafficking. He was arrested in Sudan on 1 January 2023 as a result of an international investigation.
  • Five other persons in The Netherlands are also suspects in the human trafficking case, in addition to Welid and Kidane. 
  • According to the Chinese embassy in Addis Ababa, the Chinese Foreign Minister Ambassador Qin Gang is visiting Ethiopia and other African countries between 9-16 January 2023. Reported he met PM Abiy.
  • Daniel Kibret, the special advisor of PM Abiy on Social Affairs, has been denied access to the US. Daniel Kibret is a hardliner on the war against Tigray, referring to Tigrayans as “satans”.

Links of interest
Dimtsi Weyane Facebook post
Christian Human Rights Group Calling for Withdrawal of Eritrean Troops from Ethiopia
Ethiopia: Travel ban imposed against Tigray passengers
Bestorming in Brasilia & Opnieuw onrust in Ethiopische deelstaat Oromia
Cardinal Urges Ethiopians to Work towards “lasting peace” in November Agreement
Sudan: Start of final phase towards civilian rule an ‘important step’
Statement by His Excellency William Ruto, PHD, Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart (C.G.H.)
Alleged Eritrean people smuggler appears in Dutch court
Eritrese verdachte grootscheepse migratiecriminaliteit voor de rechter
Nog vijf verdachten in grote mensensmokkelzaak
Twitter: Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia

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 any additional information and corrections.