Biden administration sanctions Eritrean military, ruling party over role in northern Ethiopia conflict

Biden administration sanctions Eritrean military, ruling party over role in northern Ethiopia conflict
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The Biden administration sanctioned Eritrea’s military and sole political party for their involvement in the ongoing crisis in northern Ethiopia.

The Eritrean Defense Force (EDF) and People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) are among six Eritrean entities and individuals designated Friday.

These are the first imposed under a new executive order signed by President Joe Biden in September that authorized broad sanctions against those involved in perpertrating the conflict, and the announcement comes as the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate.

Friday’s sanctions target the EDF, which the US Treasury Department said, “has been operating in northern Ethiopia amidst numerous reports of looting, sexual assault, killing civilians, and blocking humanitarian aid.”

“EDF soldiers have been seen disguised in old Ethiopian military uniforms, manning checkpoints, obstructing and occupying critical aid routes, and threatening medical staff in one of northern Ethiopia’s few operating hospitals,” the Department said in a press release.

The PFDJ, “led by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, is the sole legal political party in Eritrea. Isaias personally oversees the command and control of the EDF, issuing orders directly to EDF generals, making him ultimately responsible for the EDF’s role in contributing to the crisis in northern Ethiopia.”

The administration also sanctioned Abraha Kassa Nemariam, the head of the Eritrean National Security Office; Hidri Trust, “the holding company of all PFDJ business enterprises;” Hagos Ghebrehiwet W Kidan, the economic advisor to the PFDJ and chief executive officer of Red Sea Trading Corporation, which was also sanctioned and “manages the property and financial interests of the PFDJ, acts as its funder, and provides it business assistance.”

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