Review of developments in Ethiopia from the past week. We'll cover the conflict in Tigray, the GERD, and the violence against Amhara civilians.
1. 186 Amhara civilians including 72 children were murdered by Oromo Liberation Army militants in the Wollega region of Oromia. According to Tewodros Tirfe, Chairman of the Amhara Association of America, more than 300 Amhara civilians were murdered during the month of March alone in various regions throughout the country. The Amhara regional government has called on the Ethiopian federal government to take forceful action in the region.
2. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a speech that the TPLF law and order operation has mutated into an insurgency where TPLF operatives have blended in with the civilian population. He also noted that the country's military is simultaneously battling forces across eight separate fronts. He urged Ethiopians to be cognizant of the fact that there are external forces who are funding and supporting these insurgencies in an attempt to disintegrate Ethiopia so that the country will perpetually remain poor, weak, and at the mercy of foreign aid. He cautioned Ethiopians to be aware of these sinister forces and not fall prey to their agenda.
3. The Weeknd donated $1 million to Ethiopia via the World Food Program and encouraged others to do the same. The multiple-time Grammy winner expressed his dismay about the humanitarian condition in Ethiopia and released the following statement through his Twitter and Instagram accounts: "My heart breaks for my people of Ethiopia as innocent civilians ranging from small children to the elderly are being senselessly murdered and entire villages are being displaced out of fear and destruction. I will be donating $1 million to provide 2 million meals through the United Nations World Food Programme and encourage those who can to please give as well."
4. TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda appeared in a 25 minute Al Jazeera interview and alleged that the battle is still fierce with the Ethiopian military, Eritrean troops are not leaving Tigray, and that there are elements on his side that are now fighting for Tigray's independence from Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government for its part reported that Eritrean troops have started leaving Tigray.
5. Foreign Ministers from G7 countries (France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, USA, Canada) and the EU released a joint statement condemning the alleged human rights violations in Tigray and calling an end to the violence. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released a joint statement about their agreement to investigate the reported war crimes. The US House Foreign Affairs Committee sent a letter to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken calling for sanctions against Ethiopia if the Tigray crisis continues.
6. The GERD negotiationsresumed over the weekend and was attended by representatives from Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt. The meeting concluded without an agreement once again. On Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al Sisi sent a threatening message to Ethiopia stating any attempt to take "a drop of Egypt's water" would have a destabilizing effect on the whole region.
7. Ethiopia reported 2,353 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. The nationwide tally now stands at 211,314 according the Ministry of Health. The Health Ministry also reported that the country will get 300,000 Sinopharm doses from the China National Pharmaceutical Group. These are the first vaccines the country has secured outside the global COVAX vaccine-sharing initiative. Ethiopia has now banned all travelers with COVID-19 from traveling into the country.
8. Ethiopia qualified for the African Cup of Nations following an 8 year absence. It finished second in its group after the Ivory Coast, in a group that also included Madagascar and Niger.
That's it for this week. Hope you have a wonderful and productive week.