Some 25,000 residents of the border town of Badme (Tigray region; north) protested on Monday, June 11, against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s decision to cede the city to neighboring Eritrea. Protests were also held in the Irob district of the Tigray region June 4-8 to denounce the decision, which, according to locals, will divide communities. Further related protests, which have the potential to turn violent, are likely in the coming days and weeks. Ethiopian forces are stationed in Badme as of June 12.
On June 5, Ethiopia agreed to accepted boundary arbitrations delivered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2002 that awarded Badme to Eritrea. The ICJ ruling came two years after the Algiers Agreement, which ended a bloody border conflict that resulted in the deaths of thousands of people between 1998-2000. For many Badme residents, most of whom are veterans of the conflict, to cede the town is an insult to those who fought for it, especially since they were not consulted before the decision was made. Eritrea’s government has not publicly responded to Addis Ababa’s offer.
Individuals present in the Tigray region are advised to monitor development to the situation, avoid any large gatherings and demonstrations due to the risk of violence, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities or their home government.
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