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UN Security Update for Ethiopia (May 14 – 20, 2009)

DSS-Ethiopia weekly reports are compiled from various sources

GENERAL: The overall security situation in the country within the period was calm and stable. However, clashes between the military/Special Police Forces and ONLF were reported in Somali Region as well as unconfirmed reports of movement of WSLF in Korahe zone. In Gambella Region, sightings of unidentified uniformed/armed persons from mixed ethnic groups with unknown motives have been reported. Humanitarian access remains a challenging issue in the Somali Region as the UN continues to engage Regional authorities in discussions.


Overview of Situation: The security situation in Addis Ababa was stable during the past week. However, incidents of robbery in some areas in the capital have been reported.

02 May; between 1130 hrs- 12 midnight, a UN international staff member was robbed by unidentified person in the vicinity of Club Alize along Bole road while the walking in one of the side streets around the club. Accordingly, the suspect had a knife in which he successfully robbed the staff member of his personal belongings including some amount of money, mobile phone and sunglasses. Luckily, the staff member was left unharmed.

17 May; at about 2300 hrs, a British man was seriously wounded when 2 unidentified persons attacked him in the vicinity of Shola area along the CMC road. Accordingly, while the victim was walking approximately 400 meters towards his house, the assailants confronted him and demanded he hands over all his valuables to which he refused leading to multiple stabbings by the suspects. The assailants then stole the victim’s backpack and all valuables and escaped. The victim was later assisted and taken to a hospital by passers byes. He is presently stable in hospital. DSS is also informed that a similar case involving a lady took place around the same area on 05 Feb 2009.

Advisories: Staff are advised of the increasing reports of street crime and petty theft in Addis and other main cities. In this regards, walking alone at night in dark isolated areas may not be a good idea. Staff should also immediately hand over any valuables demanded by these criminals to them when confronted to avoid being harmed.


Overview of Situation: The security situation in the region for the period in review remained unpredictable due to frequent clashes between the security forces and ONLF. Between 12-13 May, lots of military movement were observed towards Fik zone from Babile. Sources also reported similar movements South and East of Sageg and Gerbo, Fik zone. On 24 May 2009, the Regional government is expected to meet again with UN/NGOs operating in the region to discuss access issues and other related matters concerning humanitarian operations in the area.

Reported Incidents

09 May; according to sources, a clash between combined forces of local militia and special police forces against ONLF was reported in Mandoyaley, 63 kms NW of Degahabur town. Casualties were reported. On same day, sources also informed that clash between the special police force erupted in Lebiga village, 26 kms West of Degahabur town to Degahmadow. Casualties also reported.

Also on same day, sources informed of fighting between special police forces and ONLF in Dabogriso sub-village, Gerbo district, Fik zone, 23 kms West of Birkot. No clear details on casualties from both sides.

13 May; according to sources, clash between EDF and ONLF occurred in the vicinity of Hurale village, 36 kms South of Degahabur town. Casualties reported.

13 May; unconfirmed reports of arrival of 200 fighters from WSLF in Debeweyin from Kaalafo and Shilabo. No further details on their movement and presence in the area as well as the security forces reaction on the report.

14 May; according to sources, clash between the special police force and ONLF was reported in Dalad area, 25 kms from Kebridehar town. Casualties reported from both sides.

17 May; a home-made bomb exploded at ARRA office near the Awbarre refugee camp in Awbarre district, Jijiga. Fortunately, the explosion did not result in any casualties or damage to property. No suspects have been identified. However, there are reports that the incident might be attributable to land dispute.

17 May; one WFP Food Monitor Team from Degahabur WFP Field Office while on mission to some areas in Aware district, Degahabur zone was ordered not to proceed to their destination by EDF for unknown reason. The team is still in Aware despite on-going negotiations between the WFP management and the military on this issue. DSS is closely monitoring the situation and has reported to concerned authorities in the Region. According to report, 7 refugees from Kebribayah camp were detained by regional authorities on alleged link with ONLF. The 7 refugees were instantly sentenced to 5 years jail term and transferred to the Jijiga main prison.


UN missions from Gode to Moyale are advised to avoid travelling through Hudat as the clan conflict between the Geris and Borenas in the area is yet to be resolved. DSS is advising use of alternative route via Gode-Moyale-Shakiso-Negele-Filtu-Charati.

Missions to some areas in Gode and Afdheer Zones should be undertaken with extreme caution due to ongoing military operations in the areas as well as some areas in Degahmadow district, Degahabur zone. Agencies are thus advised to take necessary pre-caution while conducting their mission in the area.

All agencies operating in the Somali Region to ensure they have clearance from the military commanders in their location and restrict their travels to only the approved areas especially travelling to Aware and Gunagado districts, Degahabur zone and Gerbo district, Fik zone.

Missions to Mula village, most of Degehabur Kebeles along Fafan valley, northwest of Higloley including Inley, Kebeles West of Degahmadow District and the road between Degahabur and Gerbo should contact DSS for latest update of the situation before commencing travels to the areas.

Staff members on missions to Korahe zone especially in Shilabo and Doboweyn should take extra pre-caution due to the latest report of WSLF movement in the area.

Missions to Kelafo, Mustahil and areas around Dolo Ado to be extremely cautious based on information of suspected presence of bandits and the previous hijackings of UN and private vehicles in the area.

It is important to have all DSS emergency contact numbers for the 24/7 Operation Rooms in Addis, Jijiga, Gode and Kebridehar before commencing a road movement in the Region.

UNDSS is advising humanitarian Agencies wishing to lease compounds in Kebridehar, Gode and Degehabur to avoid buildings that are located in isolated parts of the towns but consider taking the ones situated near main streets that are covered by Police patrols and easily accessible for security reasons.


Overview of Situation: The security situation in the region was calm within the reporting period. However, there were reports of sightings of unidentified uniformed armed men of mixed ethnic groups in Fugnido Gog area within the week. This led to tension among the local populace in the area. In reaction, the regional government is said to have sent a special police force to patrol the area. Further report states that the border dispute in Dimma between SNNRPS and Gambella region remains unresolved. Regional government officials met in Minzan Teferi in order to come out with a possible resolution to the dispute.

Reported incidents

13 May; it was reported that a UNHCR staff member was attacked by bees nesting in the UNHCR compound in Gambella town. The staff member was sent to Gambella Hospital for medical treatment.


Staff operating in Fugnido, Akobo and Dimma aresa are to exercise caution due to the incidents reported in the aresa. Staff are also to respect the curfew timings in Gambella Region


Overview of Situation: The overall security situation in the region is relatively calm and stable.

Reported Incidents

Nothing to report.


UNDSS is advising against missions to Arero Woreda (Wachile, Udet, and Orota kebeles); Dahas Woreda (Raroo, Borbori, Garbi and Walensu kebeles) and Moyale (El Gof, Ley, Chamuk, Gucgi and Bede kebeles) without special security arrangements. Missions to Negele should use the alternative routes either via Duwa, Dugati, and Shakiso or via Aposto, Kibre Mengist. Arrival time in Moyale for missions is advisable to be before 1700 hours.


Overview of Situation: No major incident reported apart from the fact that the weather condition reported last week has not still normalized.


UNHCC advises that staff should reduce exposure as much as possible and stay in-doors if they have no major programming activities to undertake.


Overview of Situation: No major security incident reported within the week.


Agencies are advised to use the Addis-Nazareth-Awash-Mille-Semera road as the alternative route of Semera-Mille-Dessie-Addis is in very poor condition, isolated and requires about 5 hours more travel time Additionally, Agencies with operations in Afar Region Zone 2 are advised to restrict missions to AFDERA and BERAHILE Districts until the situation becomes clearer.


Overview: The overall security situation in the region remain relatively stable but with tension and constant troop movement around the border areas. The reported bad weather in Shire persisted during the week.


UNHCC advises that staff should reduce exposure as much as possible and stay in-doors if they have no major programming activities to undertake.


Nothing to Report


Nothing to report


Associate Press report on 19 May 2009 under the caption Ethiopia denies its troops entered Somalia Stated that even though eyewitnesses informed undetermined number of Ethiopian soldiers have crossed the border into Somalia (date not mentioned) and were seen in the Somali town of Kalabeyr, 22 kms from the Ethiopian border and 18 kms north of Belet Weyne, the provincial capital of Somalia’s Hiran region, the Ethiopian government denied the allegation. Kalabeyr lies at a strategic junction of a road that links southern, central and northern Somalia to the Ethiopian border. Reports further state that the Ethiopian military used at least 12 military vehicles in crossing the border. Some of the soldiers were also seen digging trenches, while others were guarding the whole area. However, the Somali Information Minister could not comment on the report. “Our troops have not have not returned to Somalia” Ethiopian Foreign ministry spokesman Wahde Belay stated. “ Our troops are on our side of the border” he added.


2 thoughts on “UN Security Update for Ethiopia (May 14 – 20, 2009)

  1. From the above report, it seems TPLF is losing control of Addis Ababa and the rest of the country. This is what happens when a country is divided into bantustans by Constitution – it creates fragmentation and hatred Weyane created this despicable situation to distract the attention of the people while enriching itself by fleecing the country and robbing the development aid being given by donors. Ethiopians are also wary of the donors and do not consider them innocent but see them as sleek enablers of TPLF and perhaps even partake in the spoils. Corruption has become endemic all over the world – and donors are not immune.

  2. Tizibt
    What a whole load of nonesensical thougths have intoxicated you to emit the thought that EPDRF is losing the battle to keep Ethiopians – who have been diveded by maladministration and oppression during the previous 2 ordersw – united. If rate of crimes were indicative of the stability of a government, then Barrack Obama’s United States would have been finished the morning after Obama’s Innaguration. So wake up from your somnobilism!

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