Emergency Session Called for Situation in Ethiopia

Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU)

Emergency Session
© Fides

An emergency session of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) has been called for today, Monday, November 8, 2021, to address the situation in Ethiopia.

The session, motivated by recent changes in the context of the conflict, focuses on the theme: ‘Update on the situation in northern Ethiopia’. The decisive push to intervene came from the appeal that Pope Francis launched yesterday Sunday, November 7, at the end of the Angelus. “I follow with concern the news from the region of the Horn of Africa, particularly from Ethiopia. I invite everyone to pray for those peoples so sorely tried, and I renew my appeal for fraternal harmony and the peaceful path of dialogue to prevail”. Local sources who ask for anonymity told Fides that “the concern is strong and that the intervention of Pope Francis was decisive in stirring up the waters in Italy, too”.

“Noting the efforts and expressions of commitment to addressing the situation, the Peace Council reaffirms the appeal of the Presidents of the AU Commission for the cessation of hostilities and the need to initiate a political process to end the escalation of fighting – explains the source. To this end, United Nations Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths visited Makalle yesterday asking for greater access to aid for civilians amid the clash between rebels and government forces. The forces of the TPLF and oromo of OLA are concentrated on conquering the communication routes. There is a great mobilization of the Amara population to fight alongside the federal army which is experiencing severe difficulties in the field and which is re-enlisting elderly soldiers already dismissed as well as civilians. On both sides, the information campaign to report crimes is very strong”. “On Sunday, November 7, 2021, a large demonstration in Addis Ababa by supporters of Prime Minister Abiy led to many arrests among Tigrayans in the city. Government forces entered the Salesian compound and arrested workers and 17 ethnic Tigrinya priests, including the provincial. This fact is not confirmed in the mass media but is reported by several Catholic sources on the ground that are very concerned about the fate of those arrested and the ethnic division that is made within the Catholic world which could open very worrying scenarios for the local church”.