The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, expressed fears on Saturday that violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray region could spill over into neighbouring countries.
“This conflict threatens also to destabilise the whole Horn of Africa,” he wrote about the conflict-ridden region in a post.
Borrell added that he had asked Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto to travel to Ethiopia to reiterate the European Union’s concerns. An end to human rights abuses and the restoration of peace are the main priorities for Europe.
In addition to Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa includes the east African countries of Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea.
The situation in Tigray is increasingly deteriorating, Borrell said. There are reports of systematic rape and looting, as well as allegations that war crimes are being committed.
Ethiopia launched a military offensive on its northern region of Tigray in November to diminish the power of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which rules the region and has been critical of the central government.
The government declared the conflict over in early December, although both the United Nations and United States say there continue to be reports of ongoing clashes among the parties.
The hostilities in northern Ethiopia soon escalated into a complex conflict involving neighbouring Eritrea.
Hundreds of thousands of people have already fled the fighting.