Horn Highlights: Government forces burn man alive, 7 million need humanitarian assistance, South Sudan faces worst hunger crisis ever

In this week’s Horn Highlights: Ethiopian Government forces accused of burning man alive; Seven million need humanitarian assistance in Tigray; HRW says attacks against girls and women in Ethiopia should end; Women organisations call for medical services for sexual violence survivors in Ethiopia; AP calls for release of a journalist in Ethiopia; A million cattle die due to drought; UAE and Sudan agree to economic partnership; South Sudan facing worst hunger crisis ever.

Greater Horn of Africa

Ethiopia: Government-allied forces accused of burning a man alive
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said that government forces carried out the live burning of a Tigrayan man, killing the individual. The incident was filmed, and posted to social media, and subsequently widely shared, says the EHRC. The incident reportedly took place in the Benishangul-Gumuz regional state, where violence has been increasing in the last few years. The Ethiopian government called the burning a “A horrific and inhumane act” and said that it would take action against those responsible. DW further quoted the EHRC saying that an acquaintance of the man “was arrested… and thrown with the deceased, with him dying of fire burns”. The burning came after unidentified men attacked a convoy killing 53 people, including 30 attackers. The EHRC accused Ethiopian security services of summarily executing suspects the day after the attack. Security services reportedly arrested 8 Tigrayans and two locals from a bus, beat them, then executed them. Another Tigrayan was later found and was then burned alive. 

Ethiopia: Seven million people need urgent humanitarian assistance 
The United Nations health body, World Health Organisation (WHO) said 7 million people in Northern Ethiopia are in need of urgent help. “For more than a year, a de facto blockade has deprived 7 million people in Tigray of urgently needed health care, and access to food. People are dying,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus. He called on Ethiopia and Eritrea to give immediate safe access saying “life is precious everywhere.”

Ethiopia: Warring parties should end attack on women and girls
Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling for attacks on women and girls to end. The organisations says that women and girls have been subjected to widespread sexual violence and obstruction of health services for 16 months. The current humanitarian blockade of Tigray is making things worse, as victims are denied critical medical and psychological care, says HRW. HRW calls onall parties to the conflict have taken part in these atrocities and all parties should take action to end perpetration of sexual violence and other attrocities by their forces.

Ethiopia: Women organizations call for vital services to sexual violence survivors 
15 women organisations have called on the United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, for survivors of sexual and conflict related gender violence in Tigray to be proivided with vital servcies. The group has also requested for a “response to the ongoing siege imposed by the Ethiopian government on the Tigray region.”

Ethiopia: The Associated Press (AP) calls for the release of a journalist
The Associated Press (AP) calls on Ethiopia to release a freelance journalist who is accredited by AP. Amir Aman Kiyaro was arrested in November 2021, and has been in detention for over 100 days. He was arrested after being accused of interviewing “terrorist” officials and thus violating the state of emergency. Kiyaro had interviewed members of the Oromo Liberation Army, a group fighting alongside the Tigrayans. He has yet to be charged, and police have requested more time to investigate. The Committee to Protect Journalists sub-Saharan Africa representative, Muthoki Mumo, said that “it cannot be any clearer that authorities have no case against Amir Amar Kiyaro”.

Ethiopia: Reports of a million cattle dying in eastern Ethiopia due to drought
Anadolu Agency is reporting that a million cattle have died in eastern Ethiopia due to drought. Farmers are reporting that hundreds of their cattle are dying due to lack of food and water, as many farmers are trying to relocate their herds to more fertile pastures. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned in the last few weeks that eastern Ethiopia is facing a prolonged drought. It is the third year in a row that drought has occurred. The Ethiopian government has started to provide food to displaced families, says government official Abdulkerim Aden Hassen. In one locality, the government worker told Anadolu that they were providing food to 800 families. Numbers are expected to grow.

Sudan: Minister says UAE to provide financial support
The Sudanese foreign minister has said on 11 March, following a four day visit to Abu Dhabi, that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has promised to inject money into Sudanese banks to help the economy. They want to help stabilise the banks, and allow them to play a role in the development of the country, says the Sudan Tribune. Sudan has lost much of its foreign backing after a coup in November 2021, which removed the democratic transition government. The sudanese government also announced an economic partnership with the UAE to develop infrastructure in Sudan.

South Sudan: Country facing extreme food shortages
The World Food Programme (WFP) said that South Sudan is about to face the “worst hunger crisis ever”. The WFP says that 8.3 million people are expected to face extreme food insecurity in the coming months. Climate induced crises and fighting have led to large displacement and crop failures in the country. 

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