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CrisisWatch Ethiopia

Improved Situation

New PM Abiy Ahmed took several measures to mitigate ethnic tensions, promote national unity and relax restrictions on civil liberties. Head of ethnic Oromo party, Abiy Ahmed, elected chairman of ruling coalition Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front late March, sworn in as prime minister 2 April. In his first trip, Abiy 7 April went to Jijiga, capital of Somali regional state, in bid to ease tensions between ethnic Somalis and Oromos. Govt 6 April said it had closed Maekelawi prison, alleged torture site, and same day internet service reportedly resumed in parts of Oromia regional state; internet access restored in other areas 16 April. Abiy 19 April appointed ten new ministers including defence minister. Lawyer representing opposition figures, arrested 25 March for reportedly displaying banned version of national flag, said 5 April they had been released. Arrests under state of emergency imposed mid-Feb continued, particularly in Oromia. Small-scale protests reported in Ambo, Oromia regional state and parts of Somali regional state late April. Lower parliament citing security concerns 12 April postponed local elections for a year and 30 April postponed population census. Grenade attack by unidentified assailants 17 April killed four people in Moyale town, Oromia, close to border with Kenya. Talks between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over latter’s building of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on Nile 4-5 April ended without agreement on any issues; Egypt 19 April said Ethiopia and Sudan had not responded to its invitation to resume talks in Cairo. U.S. Congress 10 April passed resolution condemning rights abuses by Ethiopian security forces; govt 11 April said resolution was harmful to U.S.-Ethiopia relations.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

11 Feb 2018
Ethiopians want [the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)] to concede on the issue of the constitution. ONLF previously said they were not going to recognize the federal constitution. VOA

Rashid Abdi

Project Director, Horn of Africa
19 Jan 2018
[The dispute about future management of the Nile] is a proxy conflict over who should be the regional hegemon, Egypt or Ethiopia. World Politics Review

Rashid Abdi

Project Director, Horn of Africa
3 May 2017
The Ethiopian government backed a different candidate, so there was speculation that the new Somali president may actually be hostile to Ethiopia. RFI

Rashid Abdi

Project Director, Horn of Africa
7 Oct 2016
The protests [in Ethiopia] have now reached a serious level, a different scale. We should not exaggerate and say the government is going to keel over tomorrow, but it portends future trouble unless they get a grip. Geeska Afrika

Rashid Abdi

Project Director, Horn of Africa
9 Aug 2016
It is clear Ethiopia has a potentially serious and destabilizing unrest on its hands. What started off as isolated and localized protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions has now morphed into a much broader movement covering a large swath of the country Washington Post

Rashid Abdi

Project Director, Horn of Africa
8 Aug 2016
I think the government [of Ethiopia] is fearful that these protests may actually engulf the whole country. That is why you are seeing this heavy-handed crackdown Financial Times

Rashid Abdi

Project Director, Horn of Africa

Latest Updates

Commentary / Africa

A Wake-up Call for Eritrea and Ethiopia

A 12 June clash between Eritrea and Ethiopia comes as the Horn of Africa’s two most implacable rivals face a crossroads.

Report / Africa

Ethiopia: Prospects for Peace in Ogaden

The most credible attempt at talks to end decades of armed conflict in Ogaden may soon resume, but concerted efforts need to be made to guide them to a peaceful resolution.

Briefing / Africa

Ethiopia After Meles

The West will need to show tougher love to his successor than it did to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died Monday, if one of its most important regional allies is to remain stable.

Op-Ed / Africa

Comment sauver le Sahel

Originally published in Slate Afrique