ADDIS ABABA (Somaliguardian) – Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have resumed talks to agree on a new negotiating approach to resolve their years-long dispute over the controversial dam that Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile River.
The African nations resumed virtual talks on Sunday over the filling and operation of the $4bn Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) project, which broke ground in 2011.
The talks have deadlocked shortly after beginning as the governments failed to agree on a negotiating approach Ethiopia’s government considered would bring the dispute to an end.
This comes amid escalating border tensions between Ethiopia and Sudan, with reports on Sunday that the Ethiopian army built a fence along the Sudanese border to prevent refugees from crossing into Sudan. A Sudanese TV channel reported that refugees stopped crossing for the first time on Friday.
Months after the onset of Tigray war, the country is still on a precarious path to peace amid presence of thousands of Eritrean forces helping Abiy Ahmed’s government to quell Tigrayan rebels.
Bloomberg reported that Satellite images show the destruction of UN and other facilities in Hitsats and Shimelba camps, which had been housing Eritrean refugees before the Tigray war began in November. The images indicate that the structures have been intentionally destroyed and the area saw growing presence of Eritrean forces over the past few weeks. Unverified reports from the region say Eritrean troops have killed dozens of refugees and forced thousands to return home.
The refugee camp is now completely deserted as UN officials in Ethiopia demand unfettered access to the area.
Earlier, Ethiopian TV reported that 300 refugees in Hitsats camp were executed by the TPLF, but local sources were quoted by independent media as confirming that the refugees were killed by Eritrean forces.
There have been reports that Tigrayan civilians from western Tigray were transported with buses to Central Tigray and that the deserted houses were immediately taken over by Amharic settlers.
Ethiopian security forces have raised concerns over insecurity and a video has emerged of an Ethiopian military commander admitting that many women have been raped in Mekelle, Tigray’s regional capital which fell to the hands of allied Ethiopian, Eritrean and Amhara forces.
More than 6 buses filled with soldiers have been spotted moving to Shire from Gondar to reinforce troops there amid continued attacks from Tigray rebels.
At least 2.2 million IDPs are said to be on the brink of starvation and serious health risks in the region due to lack of access to food, water and sanitation.
It has been confirmed that TPLF spokesman, Sekoture Getachew and the former director of Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority and journalist Abebe Asgedom, were killed by a drone attack one month ago. The officials were attacked by a drone while they were traveling together in a car.
Weeks after Ethiopia denied that it used UAE drones to bomb Tigrayan front line positions during what the government billed as “law enforcement operation”, a leaked video circulated online showing Ethiopian military officials for the time talking about using armed drones as fighting raged in the northern Ethiopian region back in November.
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