Hunger Stalks Millions as Abiy Asks Ethiopians to Join Army

Fighting in northern Ethiopia may intensify further after the nation’s Nobel-laureate leader urged citizens to join the army and militias, which may add to the misery caused by nine months of civil war between the federal government and dissidents in the Tigray region.

About 300,000 people are facing “emergency levels of hunger” in Ethiopia’s Amhara and Afar states, where Tigrayan forces began an offensive after regaining most of their territory from government troops in June, the World Food Programme said on Monday. That’s in addition to about 5.2 million people in Tigray who’ve been impacted by the conflict and desperately need food aid.

Bloomberg: U.S. Official Calls for Cease-Fire as Ethiopia Conflict Deepens

The head of the U.S Agency for International Development called for an end to hostilities and on anti-government forces to withdraw from two regions bordering Ethiopia’s war-ravaged Tigray region.

Samantha Power’s comments in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, came after the U.S. State Department reinforced its calls for Tigray forces, which have been embroiled in a nine-month conflict with the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, to “withdraw its associated military forces immediately from the Amhara and Afar regions.”

The worsening conflict may scare overseas investment into Africa’s second-most populous nation just as it prepares to lure overseas telecommunications operators, as well as investors for its sugar assets. The violence has spilled into the neighboring Afar and Amhara regions as Tigray forces seek to push back against their adversaries following gains in June and July.

Bloomberg: Ethiopia Suspends Two Humanitarian Groups From War-Torn Tigray

Ethiopia suspended the activities of two humanitarian organizations working in the war-torn Tigray region as the conflict in the north of the country enters its ninth month.

Medecins Sans Frontieres, one of only a handful of experienced international groups providing frontline health care to people in conflict areas, said it was told to cease their operations by the government late last month. The Norwegian Refugee Council, which provides assistance to nearly 600,000 people in six regions across Ethiopia, was given similar orders.

Bloomberg: U.S., Europe Urge Cease-Fire to Avert Famine in Ethiopian Region

An Ethiopian national working for an Italian charity was killed in the war-hit Tigray region on Saturday after he was “hit by a stray bullet”, according to his employer.

Negasi Kidane, from the Tigrayan city of Adigrat, had been employed by the International Committee for the Development of Peoples since 2016. The group is known by its Italian initials, CISP.

He is the ninth aid worker reported killed in Tigray since fighting broke out there nearly seven months ago.

Bloomberg: Ethiopia’s Amhara Seizes Disputed Territory Amid Tigray War

Forces from the Amhara region took control of several areas in Tigray after backing federal troops that staged an incursion into its neighbor’s territory, said Gizachew Muluneh, a spokesman for the Amhara government. Fighting has continued in Tigray since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the army to retaliate after forces loyal to Tigray’s ruling party attacked a military camp in November.

The land “was taken by force and now has been returned by force,” Gizachew said. “Although it wasn’t our original objective, it happened by default.”

bloomberg: Ethiopian Opposition Leaders Call Off 38-Day Long Hunger Strike

Prominent Oromo opposition leaders in Ethiopia have decided to end their hunger strike after 38 days, according to their lawyers. The former U.S. citizen Jawar Mohammed, a media mogul, and Bekele Gerba — both members of the Oromo Federalist Congress — have agreed to end their protest tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m., according to Tuli Bayisa, a lawyer representing the prisoners. Another politician Hamza Borana will also end the hunger strike.

Bloomberg: Ethiopia Will Approach Private Creditors Only as Last Resort

Yields on the Horn of African country’s $1 billion of Eurobonds due in December 2024 fell for the first time in four days, sending prices higher. Rates dropped 65 basis points to 8.49% by 12:47 p.m. in London. Yields on the notes soared to nine-month highs after the government’s announcement on Jan. 29 that it wants to restructure external debt under a Group of 20 program.

While the Finance Ministry said earlier this month it may seek talks with private lenders such as bondholders or commercial banks after negotiations with government and public-sector agencies are completed, many investors have continued to offload the securities amid the uncertainty of the potential outcome.

Bloomberg: U.S. Urges Withdrawal of Eritrean Troops From Ethiopia

  • The U.S. called for the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean troops from neighboring Ethiopia’s Tigray region, following “credible” reports of their involvement in a civil 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.