13 Jan EMERGENCY: CONFLICT IN TIGRAY
Cento (FE), 5 November 2020.
We hoped not to make this communication, but unfortunately it was confirmed a few hours ago: the Ethiopian Prime Minister has ordered a military intervention against the regional government of Tigray, following unauthorized elections and an attack on a federal military base.
From a few weeks, federal services had been interrupted to the Tigray.
Since 4 November, telephone connections and internet connections have been blocked throughout the region, as well as air connections and public transport.
At the time of writing, we know that no military offensive has yet taken place in Adwa.
The Mission, which has already experienced the previous episode of conflict with Eritrea, is protected by armed guards.
Our Italian collaborators and Cuban and Kenyan health workers have given their willingness to remain at the Mission with great courage to give their contribution.
The hospital, which you have supported and seen grow so far, could become a reference point for treatment in the event of an armed conflict, in collaboration with local health authorities.
In a short time, if necessary, we will try to activate all 200 beds that were being implemented.
The water and food autonomy of the mission will be essential for the survival of the missionaries and their collaborators, who will thus be able to support the local population that we all have at heart.
Now more than ever the donations made so far will be precious to Adwa, and it will be essential not to lack the necessary help.
As far as possible with the telecommunications block, we will update all of you Friends on the evolution of the situation.
The isolation of the entire area from telecommunications and free movement in recent days has prevented us from obtaining verified information. The only sources were the official statements of the central government and those of the unrecognized Tigrinya authorities.
This week, the attention of some international newspapers has allowed us to focus on some information, but often not confirmed.
We report the news contained in the UN report, which confirms that there were armed offensives in the first days of the conflict, some not far from Adwa.
But at the moment the people we care about seem not to be in danger of armed conflict.
The problem is instead the proclamation of a state of emergency for Tigray from November 6, which in everyday life is reflected in the ban on the free movement of people and goods, in the blocking of banking services, in the interruption of electricity distribution.
In this context, the Adwa Mission has a better chance of getting by thanks to good water and food autonomy, but limited in time …
The primary concern is for the local population who risk not having money, food, water, in a situation already aggravated by the pandemic.
Unfortunately it was declared by government reports and confirmed by the international press: there were bombings in the Axum and Adwa area on Friday 20/11.
It seems that there were no problems at the Salesian mission, but the blocking of telecommunications, the interruption of the supply of electricity and the prohibition of travel remain.
No calls for a ceasefire by the United Nations, the African Union, religious authorities, the European Union or the United States have had any effect. The UN Security Council met for the first time on 24/11 to address the issue.
Military action now focuses on Tigray’s regional capital, Macalle, whose population has been advised to stay home.
On 22/11, the premier gave the Tigrinya army 72 hours to surrender.Upon expiry of the ultimatum, he initiated the offensive which he defines as final.The statements by the head of the TPLF, however, leave no hope of an end to hostilities.
Mass exodus has been going on for days towards Sudan, with great difficulty in getting help to refugees, in the absence of humanitarian corridors.