For this edition of Maxar Spotlight, we examined the unpredictable security situation in Ethiopia. Our experts used Maxar’s Human Landscape, machine learning and high-resolution imagery to reveal social complexities with ethnicity layers, identify previously unmapped roads and observe recent developments.

Ethiopia is beset with conflict and uncertainty on multiple fronts. Deep distrust among ethnic groups in the country fuels tensions within Ethiopia and with its neighbors. The national government is battling the military arm of the regional government in the northwest province of Tigray, and military forces from neighboring Eritrea are contributing to further unrest in the region, the BBC reports. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are internally displaced from the conflicts, and reports of human rights abuses abound, according to Amnesty International.

In September 2020, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed postponed regional elections because of COVID-19 concerns. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rejected the postponement and held regional elections in defiance of the order. In response, federal lawmakers voted to cut funding to the Tigray region. Fighting between the Ethiopian National Defense Force and TPLF ensued. What began as a political dispute over election authority quickly transformed into ethnic conflict. As of May 2021, hostilities are still being reported across Tigray’s six zones, with some districts inaccessible to humanitarian workers, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development.

In a March 2021 article published by Just Security at New York University School of Law, the Atlantic Council’s Cameron Hudson summarized the international community’s hope for a long-term solution in Tigray with five goals: “a cessation of hostilities, unfettered humanitarian access, the removal of foreign troops, a process of justice and accountability for crimes committed, and for political reconciliation to occur.”

Read the full periodical to gain a better understanding of how Maxar’s Earth Intelligence capabilities reveal patterns of life and insights to predict, mitigate and resolve crisis and conflict.

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Sneak Peek: (excerpt from Maxar Spotlight, Vol. 29)

The International Organization for Migration estimates the crisis in Tigray has displaced nearly 1.1 million people in northern Ethiopia, with 1 million internally displaced persons within Tigray and an additional 45,343 in the Afar region and 18,781 in the Amhara region. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that, as of April 2021, at least 63,000 Ethiopian refugees had arrived in eastern Sudan since fighting began in November 2020. Between 200 and 500 refugees arrived in Sudan daily through January 2021; by March the influx dropped to 30-50 arrivals per day, according to the UNHCR. Many refugees have been relocated to two permanent camps in Gedaref, Sudan. Others stay close to the border in Hamdayet in hopes of returning home or hearing from relatives.

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