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Ethiopia

CrisisWatch Ethiopia

Unchanged Situation

Amid looming famine, Tigrayan forces made significant gains against federal troops in Tigray region; meanwhile, general elections held despite insecurity in several regions. Following large-scale counteroffensive against federal govt forces in Tigray regional state (north), Tigrayan forces 28 June reportedly entered regional capital Mekelle, allegedly prompting federal govt to declare “unilateral ceasefire” same day; federal govt said it had withdrawn its forces for humanitarian reasons. Tigrayan forces 29 June dismissed ceasefire as “joke”, vowed to “intensify struggle” until “enemies completely leave Tigray”; by month’s end, Tigrayan forces reportedly controlled most of region. Earlier in month, army airstrike 22 June reportedly killed dozens of civilians in Togoga village, drawing widespread condemnation; military 24 June said attack only struck Tigrayan forces. Unidentified gunmen 25 June killed three NGO Doctors Without Borders staff in central Tigray. UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock 4 June warned famine was imminent in Tigray and “hundreds of thousands” could die; 15 June said over 350,000 are already experiencing famine conditions and accused Eritrean forces of using starvation as weapon of war. African Union (AU) mid-June launched inquiry into alleged human rights violations in Tigray; govt 17 June urged AU to “immediately cease” inquiry, saying it had not agreed to it. Parliamentary and regional elections held 21 June, results expected 1 July; opposition accused local officials and militias of blocking opposition observers in Amhara and Southern Nations regional states; AU observer mission 23 June however said poll was “peaceful and credible”. Ahead of elections, govt 10 June postponed vote in Harari and Somali regional states to Sept, citing logistical issues; vote also not held in Tigray, parts of Oromia and most of Benishangul-Gumuz. Seven opposition parties 12-13 June alleged irregularities in electoral process. Meanwhile in Oromia, police 1-4 June reportedly killed 95 suspected Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) insurgents in Guji and Borana Zones. Opposition party Oromo Liberation Front 11 June alleged Eritrean troops had deployed in Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz and called for their withdrawal. In disputed al-Fashaga area at border with Sudan, Ethiopian militia 5 June allegedly killed two Sudanese farmers; govt 8 June reportedly sent reinforcement to area, and Sudan 10 June mobilised additional troops.
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Reports & Briefings

In The News

11 Jul 2021
The current violent blowback indicates that [President] Abiy and his allies cannot achieve peace and prosperity for all Ethiopians by imposing their vision and party on Ethiopia using the coercive power of the state. Al Jazeera

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
2 Jul 2021
The fact that the U.S. and its allies have secured [a UNSC] meeting is itself a signal that Ethiopia has lost some credibility […] and it opens up the possibility that the Council will take further action down the road. CBS News

Richard Gowan

UN Director
2 Sep 2020
Ethiopia will not be deterred from finishing GERD by U.S. aid cuts and nor will it change its negotiating stance. Bloomberg

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
18 Aug 2020
Ethiopian political leaders should consider appealing to a third party to mediate, should they have exhausted all other opportunities. Deutsche Welle

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
30 Apr 2020
[En Ethiopie] le parti au pouvoir fait face à d’énormes défis électoraux et il semble répondre à ceux-ci avec les mêmes tactiques que l’ancien parti, c’est-à-dire les arrestations et la violence. L'Apostrophe

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
8 Apr 2020
While [declaring a state of emergency in Ethiopia] is understandable given the situation, it is critical that there is transparency over the government's extra powers. AFP/Yahoo News

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia

Latest Updates

Podcast / Africa

Ethiopia’s Rocky Transitional Election

This week on The Horn, Alan Boswell talks to Crisis Group expert William Davison about how June elections may play out amid rising insecurity across Ethiopia, and what a victory for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s party could mean for the turbulent transition and broader region.

Briefing / Africa

Ethiopia’s Tigray War: A Deadly, Dangerous Stalemate

Both federal and resistance forces are digging in for a lengthy battle in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Conditions for civilians are dire, with famine a growing danger. Outside powers should urge Addis Ababa to let more aid into the war zone, while maintaining pressure for talks. 

Podcast / Africa

Ethiopia’s Tigray Crisis and Horn of Africa Politics

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and guest host Comfort Ero talk with Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa director, Murithi Mutiga, about the fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and mounting tension between Ethiopia and its neighbours Eritrea and Sudan.

Podcast / Africa

Risks of Starvation Rise in Ethiopia's Tigray War

This week on The Horn, renowned scholar Alex de Waal joins Alan Boswell for a grim assessment of the humanitarian situation developing in Ethiopia’s conflict-embroiled Tigray region. He fears it will tip into famine if the international community fails to act now.

Briefing / Africa

Finding a Path to Peace in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region

War has devastated Ethiopia’s northernmost region. Pending comprehensive national dialogue, Addis Ababa should ease Tigray’s immediate predicament, engaging elements of the authorities it unseated to govern the area and ensure that aid reaches the millions in need.  

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William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
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