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CrisisWatch Ethiopia

Deteriorated Situation

Ethno-religious tensions and mob violence rose in several areas, especially in Somali region in east. In east, after federal govt forces tried to dismantle Somali region’s Liyu police and remove regional President Abdi Mohamoud Omer (known as Abdi Illey), both accused of human rights violations, youth and Liyu police attacked non-ethnic Somalis, looted and burned their property and burned Ethiopian Orthodox churches in regional capital Jijiga 4-5 Aug. Govt soldiers reportedly exchanged fire with local Liyu police. Liyu police cracked down on residents protesting attacks 6 Aug, killing four. Violence spread to at least four other towns. Attacks in Dire Dawa, about 150km west of Jijiga, 2 Aug left at least nine people dead, including six Djiboutian citizens; some 2,700 Djiboutians evacuated to Djibouti. Abdi Illey resigned 6 Aug without giving reason, replaced by region’s Finance Minister Ahmed Abdi Mohamed. Oromia region official said Liyu police carried out cross-border attacks in East Hararghe district of Oromia region 11-12 Aug, killing at least 40 ethnic Oromos. Unidentified assailants reportedly killed at least thirteen ethnic Somalis in same district 28 Aug. Following parliament’s removal of three rebel groups from list of terrorist organisations in July, govt 7 Aug signed reconciliation agreement with one, Oromo Liberation Front, fighting for self-determination of Oromia region; another, Ogaden National Liberation Front, fighting for secession of Somali region, 12 Aug declared unilateral ceasefire. Exiled leadership of third, Patriotic Ginbot 7, early Aug said it would return home and launch political activities. Amhara region authorities 16 Aug signed reconciliation agreement with rebel group Amhara Democratic Forces Movement exiled in Eritrea. Govt 10 Aug said United Arab Emirates was exploring investment opportunities there, including building oil pipeline between Addis Ababa and Eritrea’s Assab port.

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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