Horn Highlights: US imposes sanctions on Eritrea, UN says at least a 1000 detained, EU concerns about the “unraveling” of Ethiopia

In this Horn news highlights: The US imposes sanctions on Eritrea, and Ethiopia denounces them; Diaspora organisation Eritrea Focus welcomes sanctions; Oromo Professor sets out a first roadmap on Ethiopian transition; US State Secretary goes to Africa; starvation is taking hold in Tigray; UN says 1000 individuals have been detained; US urges nationals to leave saying there will be no Kabul-like evacuation; The EU fears for the stability of Ethiopia; Protestors killed by Sudanese military; Journalist arrested in Sudan.

Greater Horn of Africa

Eritrea: The US imposes sanctions on Eritrea; 
The Eritrean diaspora organisation Eritrea Focus welcomes US sanctions against Eritrean officials and companies and requests the EU and international community to follow the US example. The US treasury department has sanctioned four entities and two individuals linked to the Eritrean government. These entities are the Eritrean Defense Force, the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), Hidri Trust, and Red Sea Trading Corporation. These entities are also known respectively as the Eritrean army, the only Eritrean political party, and two entities that manage Eritrean business interests. The Red Sea Trading Corporation and associated entities have been accused in previous research of working with slavery-like forced labour from  national service recruits in Eritrea. The individuals sanctioned are Abraha Kassa Nemariam, the Eritrean economic advisor, and Hagos Ghebrehiwet W. Kidan, the head of the Eritrean national security office. They have been sanctioned for their participation in the Eritrean human rights abuses in Ethiopia. The US has added that “[p]arties to the conflict must come to the negotiating table without preconditions. The United States stands ready to pursue additional actions, including against the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, if there is not tangible progress toward a cessation of hostilities.”

Eritrea: Eritrea Focus welcomes sanctions
The Eritrean diaspora organisation Eritrea Focus welcomes US sanctions against Eritrean officials and companies and requests the EU and international community to follow the US example. The organisation states “[c]onscripts caught up in “National Service”, or drafted in the sweeps of Eritrean towns and villages, “have laid down their lives in their thousands or been dismembered and injured in a cause few understood, and none had the opportunity to consent to.” The organisation laments the atrocities committed on Eritrean refugees by the Eritrean regime: “Eritrean refugees who had sought sanctuary in Ethiopia found their camps besieged by Eritrean forces and others. Thousands had to flee once more, deeper into Ethiopia, or were captured by Eritrean troops and sent back to Eritrea against their will. Some were forced to join the Eritrean military to fight in this senseless war. There have also been reports of Eritrean refugees being attacked by Tigrayan forces, which warrants an investigation to bring those involved to justice.” The organisation states “President Isaias and the elite that surround him in the military and the PFDJ are responsible for taking our country into this war and for the death of many of our people.”

Ethiopia: Government denounces sanctions
The Ethiopian government has denounced the sanctions imposed by the US on Eritrea and has asked the US government to revoke the sanctions. In a statement by the Ethiopian foreign ministry, it said that it had “never lodged any grievances to the international community regarding the initial presence of Eritrean forces on its soil in defense of their territorial integrity. The prerogative to put forth such a complaint lies with the Government of Ethiopia and not any other country.” It continued by saying that “[t]he Government of Ethiopia does not believe that the State of Eritrea is an impediment to sustainable peace in Ethiopia.” It finished by calling the US to sanction the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) instead. 

Ethiopia: Speakers at the World Oromo Congress set out roadmap for Ethiopia
Professor Ezekiel Gebissa presented a roadmap on a transition in Ethiopia. He expressed disappointment that the hope of three years ago was betrayed. The recent events  showed that the state of Ethiopia was still capable of turning against its own citizens with foreign military support and foreign troops. It has to be concluded that the latest developments have shown that a more serious transition is needed, he said. Professor Ezekiel stated that it is inconceivable that the status quo ante is an option. In order to manage the transition, he invited others to come up with their own roadmap so that the various options would be put on the table and could be discussed. He identified that the role of the various nations and states within Ethiopia was to protect their citizens and to ensure that citizens could express their views. The transition should strengthen the rule of law and stop the rule of violence. This should enable an orderly transition towards peace in Ethiopia. He warned that failing to do so, could drive Ethiopia into a Rwanda-like genocide and that the current language of hate was promoting genocide-like responses.

Kenya: US Secretary of State stops in Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal
The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken left for Africa on Tuesday. The trip will last five days. Blinken’s first stop was in Kenya where he was said to have had a successful meeting with President Uhuru. Blinken will also visit Nigeria and Senegal. In Kenya, Blinken stated that the US is focusing on Ethiopia and warned that a worsening conflict could risk “peace and stability”. The United States is very concerned about the conflict in Ethiopia, and wishes to broker a peace agreement. The New York Times reports Patricia Haslach, a former US ambassador to Ethiopia, saying that the situation in the country was “Rwanda-Esque”. 

Ethiopia: Children dying of starvation
Agence France Press has released data which indicates that 186 children have died due to starvation in Tigray. According to the same source, 29% of all children in Tigray are now malnourished. 7.1% are acutely malnourished. They were informed by the former head of the health bureau of the pre-conflict Tigrayan government. He also told AFP that hospitals are experiencing the deaths of 3 to 4 people each week due to preventable diseases.  

Ethiopia: UN raises concerns about arrests of ethnic Tigrayans
The United Nations office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has said that at least 1000 people have been detained by authorities in Ethiopia. It released a statement in which it says that it is “concerned that arrests have been continuing over the last week in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa and other locations. These developments are all the more disturbing given that most of those detained are reported to be people of Tigrayan origin.”  Liz Throssell, a spokesperson for the OHCHR, said that many people were being detained on suspicion of being affiliated to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). She added that “[t]he state of emergency in force in Ethiopia risks compounding an already very serious human rights and humanitarian situation in the country,” and that the provisions for the state of emergency were “extremely broad, with vague prohibitions going as far as encompassing “indirect moral” support for what the government has labeled ‘terrorist groups.” In a statement, Norway condemned the arrests saying that “[t]he detainees must get access to lawyers without delay.” According to the UN, ten local staff and 34 UN drivers remain in custody. UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, is urging Ethiopia to release them. 

Ethiopia: TDF and OLA continue to advance towards Addis Ababa
Tigrayan and OLA forces have moved beyond Kemise and are advancing on Shewa Robit. The TDF has also moved west, capturing Were Ilu. There has been heavy fighting on the road to Mille, where TDF approached from three different directions, but does not control the city. There are claims of Eritrean troops fighting on the Mille front. TDF has moved towards cities south of Kombolcha and on the south western side of Kombolcha.

Ethiopia: US urges Americans to leave Ethiopia
The US State Department spokesperson, Ned Price, has told Axios that the US is urging all US passport holders to leave Ethiopia immediately. Ned Price is also warning that there would be no Kabul-like airlift. He has added that while Addis Ababa is calm now, conflict could spread fast. 

Ethiopia: EU concerned about “unravelling” of Ethiopia
The EU observer has seen an internal EU document that warns about the “unravelling” of Ethiopia if a peace treaty is not forthcoming. It warns of millions of refugees, and a spillover of the conflict to the rest of the region.The document warns that refugee flows could increase exponentially, with 15 million people currently in need of humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia, and potentially millions more if the conflict continues. European foreign ministers will discuss the conflict in Ethiopia on Thursday. EU member states have reported that at least 139 European nationals are in Tigray.

Sudan: Protest death toll increases
The death toll in the protests against the coup in Sudan has increased to 23 after the demonstrations on Saturday. The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors has said that 8 people were killed, including a 13 year old, after the military intervened to scatter the protestors on Saturday. The Committee added that 100 people have been wounded with live bullets in the latest protest. The EU has condemned the violence against civilians in “the strongest terms”. The EU added that the coup has undone a lot of progress, and that it will have consequences for European support. 

Sudan: Journalist chief arrested
The Al Jazeera bureau chief in Sudan was arrested and subsequently released. El Musalmi El Kabbashi was arrested during a raid at his home. He was released two days later. Journalists have been among those protesting the coup, calling for democracy and saying that there has been a campaign to target journalists. 

 Sudan: US officials meet with Sudanese officials to discuss peaceful transition
US officials have met with several individuals to promote the peaceful transition to a democratic government. The Assistant Secretary of State Molly Phee met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Mariam al-Mahdi to promote a transition to a democratic government. The US has also met with deposed Prime Minister Hamdok.