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Ethiopia

CrisisWatch Ethiopia

Unchanged Situation

Ethnic violence broke out in north west, armed groups continued to launch attacks against civilians in Oromia region and govt declared nationwide state of emergency amid COVID-19 pandemic. In Benishangul-Gumuz region in north west, armed group 3 April launched attack, reportedly ethnically motivated, on Gilgel Beles town leaving at least eight dead. In western Oromia, suspected members of armed opposition faction Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) 9 April killed three civilians in Genji town. After COVID-19 pandemic late March prompted electoral board to delay general elections planned for Aug, opposition parties Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) 2 April said postponement offers opportunity to address “mistakes that have been threatening to derail Ethiopia’s transition to democracy”. Political party Tigray People’s Liberation Front late April said elections should proceed as planned. In response to COVID-19, govt 8 April declared five-month nationwide state of emergency, including ban on gatherings of more than four people. COVID-19 restrictions sparked isolated incidents: in capital Addis Ababa, police mid-to-late April arrested some 50 individuals for violating state of emergency, including at least one opposition leader; four individuals mid-April reportedly beat to death man, who urged them to adhere to social distancing, in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ region. Amid stalemate in negotiations with Egypt and Sudan on filling and operation of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on Blue Nile River, PM Abiy 1 April said dam would be filled during rainy season (June-Sept). In meeting in Sudan’s capital Khartoum 10 April, army chief of staff, Sudanese counterpart and head of Sovereign Council Abdel-Fattah Burhan reportedly agreed to coordinate border security operations following spate of criminal violence and clashes between militias on border between Amhara region and Sudan’s Al-Qadarif state.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

30 Apr 2020
[En Ethiopie] le parti au pouvoir fait face à d’énormes défis électoraux et il semble répondre à ceux-ci avec les mêmes tactiques que l’ancien parti, c’est-à-dire les arrestations et la violence. L'Apostrophe

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
8 Apr 2020
While [declaring a state of emergency in Ethiopia] is understandable given the situation, it is critical that there is transparency over the government's extra powers. AFP/Yahoo News

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
4 Apr 2020
It would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for the [Ethiopian] electoral board [...] to organize this election in time for the 29th of August. Deutsche Welle

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
28 Feb 2020
Ethiopia feels that the international community is, in some way, set up to rule against it... and that's why they have been reticent about having third party involvement [in Ethiopia's Nile dam project]. Voice of America

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
25 Feb 2020
This is an encouraging sign that the [Ethiopian] government is prioritizing reconciliation rather than punishment. For the approach to be successful, all actors need to adopt similarly conciliatory stances. Bloomberg

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
30 Oct 2019
[In Ethiopia] as political space has opened and [the majority's] control has weakened all sorts of latent disputes over power, resources, identity and territory have surfaced. Financial Times

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia

Latest Updates

Commentary / Africa

Mitigating Risks Ahead of Ethiopia’s Pivotal Elections

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy has implemented important reforms but the changes have uncorked social tensions long bottled up by an authoritarian state. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2020 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to bolster efforts to prevent violence around the elections and support the government’s reforms.

Commentary / Africa

Calming the Choppy Nile Dam Talks

Egypt and Ethiopia are exchanging harsh words over the dam the latter is building on the Blue Nile. At issue is how fast the Horn nation will fill its reservoir once construction is complete. The two countries’ leaders should cool the rhetoric and seek compromise.

Commentary / Africa

Preventing Further Conflict and Fragmentation in Ethiopia

High-profile assassinations, intercommunal violence and the question of Sidama statehood have endangered Ethiopia’s transition to a multi-party democracy. In this excerpt from its Watch List 2019 – Second Update, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to support a parliamentary vote and assist with economic reforms.

EU Watch List / Global

Watch List 2019 – Second Update

Watch List Updates complement International Crisis Group’s annual Watch List, most recently published in January 2019. These early-warning publications identify major conflict situations in which prompt action, driven or supported by the European Union and its member states, would generate stronger prospects for peace. The second update to the Watch List 2019 includes entries on Colombia, Ethiopia, Iran and Libya.

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William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
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