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CrisisWatch Ethiopia

Deteriorated Situation

Intercommunal clashes escalated in several regions, leaving hundreds dead; govt faced mounting international scrutiny over war in Tigray. In Amhara regional state in north, intercommunal clashes between ethnic Oromo and ethnic Amhara resumed, reportedly leaving up to 200 people dead in Oromia Zone, including Ataye town, 16 April; violence prompted protests across region demanding end to mass killings. In disputed area between Afar and Somali regional states in east, clashes between ethnic Afar on one side and ethnic Somali-Issa paramilitaries and militias on the other 2-6 April killed at least 100 people; after initially trading blame for violence, both regional govts 8 April reportedly reached “agreement to immediately resolve” conflict and allow federal govt to investigate clashes. In Oromia regional state in centre, security forces early April reportedly killed 119 suspected Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) insurgents in western Oromia area; suspected OLA fighters late April reportedly killed at least 20 ethnic Amhara in Jimma Zone and another 15 in Horo-Guduru Wollega Zone. In Benishangul-Gumuz regional state in north west, govt-appointed Human Rights Commission 21 April said unidentified armed group had by 19 April established “near-full control” over Sedal district in Kamashi Zone; earlier in month, unidentified gunmen 1 April reportedly killed seven civilians in Mandura district. Amid continued fighting between Tigray’s and federal govt’s forces in Tigray regional state in north, authorities 3 April said Eritrean troops had started withdrawing; UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock 15 April however said UN had seen no proof of Eritrean withdrawal. NGO Amnesty International 14 April said Eritrean soldiers 12 April had opened fire on civilians in Adwa town, killing at least three. NGO World Peace Foundation 6 April accused govt, Eritrean and Amhara regional forces in Tigray of “committing starvation crimes on large scale”, warning of risk of famine; UN Security Council 22 April expressed “deep concern” over reported rights abuses and sexual violence in Tigray, urged “unfettered humanitarian access” to region. New round of talks with Sudan and Egypt over filling and operation of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on Blue Nile river faltered 6 June, prompting further regional tensions (see Nile Waters).

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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
4 Apr 2020
It would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for the [Ethiopian] electoral board [...] to organize this election in time for the 29th of August. Deutsche Welle

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
28 Feb 2020
Ethiopia feels that the international community is, in some way, set up to rule against it... and that's why they have been reticent about having third party involvement [in Ethiopia's Nile dam project]. Voice of America

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia

Latest Updates

Commentary / Africa

War and Repression in Ethiopia Make National Dialogue Ever More Pressing

With ongoing fighting in the Tigray region, Ethiopia’s chronic instability is set to worsen unless the federal government adopts a conciliatory approach toward opponents. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2021, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to press federal authorities to allow access for humanitarian aid and support dialogue to address the country’s most divisive fault lines.

Podcast / Africa

As Conflicts Mount, Where Does Ethiopia Go from Here?

Ethiopia has declared that its main military operation in northern Tigray is over, but fighting persists and existential questions hang over the country’s transition. This week on The Horn, Adem Kassie Abebe joins Alan to discuss how Prime Minister Abiy should navigate the troubled waters ahead.

Alert / Africa

Avoiding a Bloodbath in Ethiopia’s Mekelle

Fighting between the Ethiopian army and Tigray forces has arrived near the region’s biggest city, home to half a million residents. Addis Ababa should pause hostilities, all sides should minimise harm to civilians and the AU should step up efforts to avert further bloodshed.

Podcast / Asia

Afghanistan's Peace Process

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Rob Malley and guest host Richard Atwood talk with Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director Laurel Miller about the U.S. plans to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and reflect on the expulsion of Crisis Group Senior Analyst Will Davison from Ethiopia.

Media Release / Africa

Ethiopia Expels Crisis Group Senior Analyst

The Ethiopian government on 21 November deported Crisis Group’s Ethiopia Senior Analyst William Davison. No formal reason was immediately given, but his expulsion doubtless relates to the serious conflict in Tigray and increasing sensitivity to non-official points of view.

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William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia