U.S. strongly condemns bloodshed in Tigray region, orders withdrawal of Eritrean troops

The United States demands immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces from the Tigray region | USA Embassy

The United States has expressed deep concern over disturbing reports of ethnic killings, sexual assaults and forced displacement in the Tigray region at the hands of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces.

“The United States is gravely concerned by reported atrocities and the overall deteriorating situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia,” the Biden-Harris administration said in a statement.

“We strongly condemn the killings, forced removals and displacements, sexual assaults, and other extremely serious human rights violations and abuses by several parties that multiple organizations have reported in Tigray.”

Washington called on the Ethiopian authorities to put an immediate end to hostilities and engage in meaningful dialogue with the TPLF leadership.

“We are also deeply concerned by the worsening humanitarian crisis. The United States has repeatedly engaged the Ethiopian government on the importance of ending the violence, ensuring unhindered humanitarian access to Tigray, and allowing a full, independent, international investigation into all reports of human rights violations, abuses, and atrocities. Those responsible for them must be held accountable.”

“The United States acknowledges the February 26 statements from the Ethiopian Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs promising unhindered humanitarian access, welcoming international support for investigations into human rights violations and abuses, and committing to full accountability. The international community needs to work collectively to ensure that these commitments are realized.”

The United States demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Eritrean forces that have participated in the ongoing military operations in the Tigray region since the onset of the conflict on November 4, 2021.

“The immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces and Amhara regional forces from Tigray are essential first steps. They should be accompanied by unilateral declarations of cessation of hostilities by all parties to the conflict and a commitment to permit unhindered delivery of assistance to those in Tigray.”

“The United States is committed to working with the international community to achieve these goals. To that end, USAID will deploy a Disaster Assistance Response Team to Ethiopia to continue delivering life-saving assistance.”

“We ask international partners, especially the African Union and regional partners, to work with us to address the crisis in Tigray, including through action at the UN and other relevant bodies. The United States remains committed to building an enduring partnership with the Ethiopian people.”

Tigray community hails UN, S. Sudan for saving their sons from “death-trap”

Ethiopian contingent serving under the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan |Photo: Courtesy

Members of the Tigray community in the United States issued a brief statement this evening, commending the South Sudanese authorities and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for protecting their sons from what they described as a premeditated “death trap” planned by the Abiy administration.

“We appreciate the Republic of South Sudan and UNHCR for providing protection to our sons after the Ethiopian government had premeditated a “death trap” against them as part of the ongoing Genocide in the Tigray region,” the diaspora community lauded South Sudan in a brief statement extended to Thessherald.

On Monday, a bitter fist fight ensued at Juba International Airport after 15 members of the Ethiopian contingent refused to board a plane, citing fear for their lives.

The brief fighting between the Ethiopian troops serving under the mandate of the United Nations Mission has been confirmed by a top UN official.

“This morning, 169 members of the Ethiopian contingent were due to rotate out of Juba and (be) replaced by fresh contingents, a part of a normal rotation,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric during his daily press conference.

“We’re trying to get the details, but I do understand about 15 members of the contingent chose not to board the flight at the Juba airport… They’ve asked to stay,” he said, adding that “any person in need of international protection has the right to seek asylum.”

“They are receiving support from the South Sudanese Ministry of Refugee Affairs,” Dujarric continued, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is “aware” of the situation and in contact with South Sudanese authorities.

IGAD commends S. Sudan’s contribution to regional peace

IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Ismail Wais and President Kiir discuss status of the implementation on September 12, 2019.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in a statement, commends South Sudan’s recent offer to settle border-related disputes between Sudan and the Federal Democratic Ethiopia.

Speaking on Monday as the country marked its First Anniversary since the formation of South Sudan’s unity government, the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Amb. Ismail Wais applauded South Sudan’s role in promoting regional peace and stability.

“IGAD also recognizes and appreciates the significant contribution that South Sudan is making to regional peace and stability by successfully hosting and mediating the Sudan talks as well as by offering to mediate between Ethiopia and Sudan to help peacefully resolve the ongoing border dispute between the two countries. This is one clear indication that besides the people of South Sudan the neighboring countries and the region at large are reaping the fruits of peace in South Sudan.”

Earlier this month, the world’s youngest country offered to calm border tensions between Sudan and neighboring Ethiopia after months of military confrontations.

South Sudan has succeeded in brokering the Juba Peace Agreement between the Sudanese unity government and opposition groups, but failed to restore its own peace.

On the same note, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, called on the South Sudanese parties to commit to the implementation of the peace agreement.

All in all, the last one year has witnessed a mixed-bag of progresses and delays with regard to the implementation of the R-ARCSS, and it is the right time for the Parties and Stakeholders of the R-ARCSS to take stock of achievements and challenges and have a genuine discussion and dialogue on the way forward.

PM Abiy to deport hundreds of Tigrayan Blue Helmets from South Sudan

The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, has been accused of targeting Tigrayan peacekeepers operating under the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Thousands of people, mostly from the Tigray region, have taken to social media urging the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, to intervene and condemn the decision being taken by the Ethiopian government.

“Abiy Ahmed has been ethnically profiling Tigrayan origin UN peacekeepers stationed in South Sudan; he’s planing to forcefully return large number of Tigrayan peacekeepers to Ethiopia starting tomorrow —UN needs to intervene and ensure their safety.”

Last year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, strongly condemned and denounced reports of ethnic profiling against Tigrayan communities in various parts of Ethiopia by the security forces.

“There is an urgent need for independent monitoring of the human rights situation in the Tigray region, all necessary measures to protect civilians, and accountability for violations.”

“We have reports that particularly areas surrounding towns like Mekelle, Sherero, Axum, Abiy Addi, and the borders between the Amhara and Tigray regions, fighting continues between federal forces and the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front), and affiliated militias on both sides,” Bachelet told a news conference in Geneva.

Since the outbreak of violence in 2020, thousands are believed to have bee killed and millions displaced from their homes.

Newsflash: Ethiopia declares war on Sudan as tensions reach boiling point

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed / File

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a strongly-worded statement, condemning the incursion of the Sudanese armed forces into Ethiopian territory and accused an unnamed third party of being behind this border-conflict between the two countries.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia condemns in the strongest possible terms the escalation and provocative behavior of the Government of the Sudan regarding the boundary issue between Ethiopia and the Sudan. Ethiopia believes that any conflict between our two countries would only result in a colossal collateral damage and jeopardizes the well- being of the two nations,” the Ethiopian government said on Thursday.

The Ethiopian government underscored that an all-out conflict between Sudan and Ethiopia could have detrimental impact on the region and jeopardize ongoing efforts to bring the two countries to the negotiating table.

“Therefore, the Ethiopian government strongly believes that the conflict being trumpeted by the Sudanese government’s military wing could only serve the interests of a third party at the expense of the Sudanese people. It is to be noted that the two governments have sufficient mechanisms to deal with any claims and counter-claims of the border or any territorial claims. However, the Sudanese National Army violated the basic principles of international law and peaceful settlements of disputes by unceremoniously invading Ethiopia in carly November 2020.”

“In doing so, Sudan has violated the bilateral boundary agreements, which stipulate non-displacement of nationals of either nation from their farms jointly registered by the two Governments, the status quo of which shall be maintained until the disposition of the case by an agreement.

“The Sudanese side has also overturned and undermined the efforts of the joint boundary committees that have been making tireless efforts to finalize the re-demarcation process of the common boundary. Contrary to the spirit of friendship and cooperation existing between our two brotherly countries, the Sudanese Army looted properties, burned camps, attacked and displaced thousands of Ethiopians and controlled vacated Ethiopian Military Camps.”

“What is more deplorable is, in an apparent misrepresentation of the facts on the ground, Sudan is deliberately engaged in misinformation campaigns against Ethiopia by accusing the victim as an aggressor, evading accountability by shifting blame and camouflaging its belligerence and continue its provocation in an attempt to control more lands.”

“Amidst of all these escalatory and provocative behaviour of the Sudan, Ethiopia has shown a great deal of patience, remained restrained from exercising its legitimate right of self-defence and time and again expressed its commitment to a peaceful settlement of differences regarding the boundary through existing bilateral agreements and joint border mechanisms. What is needed is a political will of the two governments, which would enable them reach at an amicable solution.”

“Ethiopia firmly believes in the long standing fraternal relations between the people of Ethiopia and Sudan regardless of the nature of their respective governments. The attempt being made by the Sudanese Amy to push the friendly pcoples of Ethiopia and Sudan to unwarranted war is a serious blunder that will undermine their peace, stability and development of the two nations in particular and the region in general. Ethiopia while reiterating its commitment for a peaceful settlement of the boundary issue, once again calls upon the government of the Sudan to reverse the aggression, desist from provocation and resort to a peaceful settlement of the boundary issue.”

“Therefore, the Ethiopian government would like to call upon the people of the Sudan to check on its government from serving a third party interest which only would result in the determent of the two nations. Furthermore, Ethiopia calls upon brotherly African countries to advice the Sudanese government to finalize the border issues through available mechanisms in peaceful manner. The government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia also thanks the people of Ethiopia for showing maximum patience and profound understanding.”

Ex-South Sudan’s Chief Mediator Seyoum Mesfin is dead

Ex-South Sudan’s Chief Mediator Seyoum Mesfin killed by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces |Photo: File

The Ethiopian government said on Wednesday its military had killed three members of the Tigray region’s former ruling party, including former Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin.

The three Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) officials were killed, and five other party members were captured, after they refused to surrender to the military, the government’s task force for the crisis in Tigray said on Twitter.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government declared victory in its conflict with the TPLF on Nov. 28 last year after nearly a month of fighting.

Fugitive leaders of the TPLF had vowed to continue to fight from the mountains of the region in northern Ethiopia, but Reuters has been unable to contact them for weeks.

The military said last week it had captured Sebhat Nega, a founding member of the TPLF.

At the weekend, it said it had killed 15 members of the TPLF and captured eight others, according to state-run TV.
Seyoum was Ethiopia’s foreign minister from 1991 to 2010.

Air strikes and battles since early November in Tigray are believed to have killed thousands of people. Fighting is continuing in some parts and more than 2 million people need aid, the United Nations said this week.


Originally published by Reuters

U.S. orders ‘immediate withdrawal’ of Eritrean troops from Tigray region

Official Emblem of the United States (Photo: US)

Dec 11, 2020 (Thessherald)–After receiving credible reports on the ground, the United States has ordered the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces from the Tigray region.

“This is a grave development,” a U.S. State Department spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Last month, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front launched a series of attacks on the Eritrean capital Asmara, blowing up an airport and other facilities –after accusing Eritrea of having involved in the Ethiopian conflict.

The U.S. said it’s also aware of reports of human rights violations in the region, and called for an independent investigation of the matter.

“All parties must respect human rights and international humanitarian law,” the Sate Department said.

Federal government blocks refugees from seeking safety in Addis Ababa.

Today, the federal government ordered the immediate return of Eritrean refugees to their camps in the Tigray region, despite security concerns, a move the United Nations described as “unacceptable”.

“A large number of misinformed Eritrean refugees are moving out in an irregular manner particularly from Mai-Ayni and Adi-Harush refugee camps to Addis Ababa. Such an unregulated movement of the refugees with high dependence on aid will create difficulties in ensuring their safety, security, dignity, and in providing a coordinated protection and assistance. Given the priority the government gives to humanitarian assistance, the refugees were kept in a dignified manner and sheltered and nurtured by the government,” The Ethiopian State of Emergency Task-Force said on Friday.

Claiming that, “Ethiopia has a very long, and cherished history of hospitality and generosity to people who are forcibly displaced due to man-made and natural calamities.”

“The Government is working tirelessly to fully reactivate and continue provision of critical lifesaving services to the refugees as well as to ensure a safe and secured operating environment for frontline responders.

“As a result of which transportation of food to the camps is underway among other things. At this point in time, the areas in Tigray region in which the Eritrean refugee camps are situated are stable given that they are under the full control of the Federal Government.

“With that understanding, therefore, the Government is safely returning those refugees to their respective camps where they can have access to service delivery systems, and more importantly they can live lawfully and peacefully with the communities that host them.”

Ethiopia lashes out at Donald Trump’s inflammatory remarks on Nile dam

US President Donald Trump and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali |Photo: Thessherald

Oct 25, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Ethiopian government has expressed deep concern and blasted US President, Donald J. Trump over his inflammatory comments, suggesting that Egypt could ‘blow up’ the Nile dam if Ethiopia continues to drag its feet on ending GERD dispute.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, in a strongly worded statement, that it was seeking clarification regarding the inflammatory comments made by Trump during his telephone conversation with the Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok.

“The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia summoned today (October 24) the United States Ambassador H.E. Mike Raynor to seek clarifications on the remarks the US President made regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) during his telephone conversation with the Prime Ministers of the Republic of the Sudan and the State of Israel,” the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.

The Ethiopian government has accused Washington of inciting and fueling an already-ongoing regional war between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

“The incitement of war between Ethiopia and Egypt from a sitting US president neither reflects the longstanding partnership and strategic alliance between Ethiopia and the United States nor is acceptable in International Law governing interstate relations.”

“The Minister further informed the Ambassador that Ethiopia has never and will not in the future succumb to threats to its sovereignty and will be committed to continue the trilateral negotiations under the framework of the African Union.”

Since 2011, there has been a long-standing dispute between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, revolving around Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to build the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam along the Blue Nile – some 20 kilometers upstream from Sudanese territory.

Egypt seeks military base in Somaliland, Ethiopia draws redline

August 8, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Dina Mufti, has said that the Egyptian government’s intention to establish a military base in the East African region, particularly in Somaliland, will not come at the expense of Ethiopia’s interests and safety.

Addressing a weekly news briefing, Mufti stressed that, “Egypt as a sovereign country reserves the right to establish relations with any country [in the region]. But this should not come at the expense of Ethiopia’s stability.”

Recent reports have said Egypt is trying to establish a military base in Somaliland, a breakaway state in northern Somalia not recognized as an independent country.

Late in July, a delegation from Egypt met with Musa Bihi Abdi, Somaliland’s self-declared leader, and reportedly proposed setting up a military camp in the northwestern part of the territory.

The Ethiopian government said it was following developments very closely. “That is a red line for us,” he said, adding that Ethiopia wants friendly relations with Somaliland, despite its non-state status.

Some analysts see Egypt’s move as retaliation against Somalia, a country that supports Ethiopia’s rights on the Nile as Ethiopia and Egypt continue to wrangle over Ethiopia’s $5 billion hydroelectric Nile dam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

After the failure of US-sponsored talks this February between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, the African Union brought the three countries together for continued negotiations in June.

Last week, Ethiopia submitted a proposal on the filling of the dam – a proposal met with misgivings by Egypt and Sudan, which asked for time to review it.

4 women rescued as Murle armed men go on kidnapping spree in Ethiopia

Four women rescued from the Murle armed men who crept into the Ethiopian territory | Photo: Unknown

June 14, 2020 (Thessherald)–At least four women have been rescued by local youth after an armed group from the Murle tribe of South Sudan went on kidnapping spree in Nyinyang, a border area between South Sudan and Ethiopia.

“The local youths were able to pursue the kidnappers as soon as they obtained information from the authorities that a group of armed men from the Murle tribe had carried out an attack on innocent women,” said Chuol Bhandak, a community elder interviewed by our reporter on Sunday.

Murle communities are known for their endless kidnapping, cattle rustling, senseless killing and hostile behavior towards other neighboring communities.

This is not the first time that the Murle has carried out attacks on Ethiopian citizens.

In 2016, an armed group from the Murle infiltrated across South Sudan and Ethiopia border, killing more than 200 Ethiopian citizens and kidnapping hundreds of children.

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