Ethiopia has increased pressure on the country’s tough northern Tigray region by replacing the local leader with a new central government.
The move comes amid clashes between Tigrayan and national military forces that have brought Africa’s second most populous nation to the brink of what analysts say could be a civil war. stretched and bloody.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, has called for an immediate de-escalation of tensions and a peaceful resolution of the dispute, but at present there does not appear to be much desire for dialogue with either side.
In a statement on Saturday, Abiy Ahmed, who won last year̵7;s Nobel peace prize for ending protracted conflict with neighboring Eritrea, said “criminals cannot escape the rule of law under the guise of seek mediation and call for dialogue “.
“Our activity is aimed at ending long-standing sanctions and blaming individuals and collectives in accordance with the laws of the country,” Abiy said.
Saturday’s Senate vote now gives Abiy the right to replace a Tigray leader, which his government considers illegal.
A statement posted on the Tigray government’s Facebook page said they would win the “just” war, adding that “a fighter would not negotiate with their enemies”.
Major events leading to the Tigray crisis of Ethiopia
The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) toppled Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam, the head of the communist army that has been ruling the country since 1974. The coalition group is led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The way, guerrilla warriors marched from their homeland in the north of Ethiopia to the capital Addis Ababa.
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia declared
The EPRDF swept to power in less competitive elections and TPLF leader Meles Zenawi became the prime minister of Ethiopia. The king cobra dominates the high levels of government.
Meles introduced a system that gives the country’s major ethnic groups the opportunity to govern the regions they dominate. Although the Tigrayans make up about 5% of the population, they benefit disproportionately, other areas complain, as roads and other infrastructure are built in their sparsely populated areas. .
The prime minister died in office and a successor from another ethnic group was appointed.
The split erupted in the EPRDF over how quickly to pursue political reforms in response to street protests that threatened the alliance’s grip.
Abiy Ahmed came to power
Abiy Ahmed, an Oromo, assumed the position of prime minister, earning much praise at home and abroad for opening up one of Africa’s most restrictive economic and political systems.
The Tigers complain that they are being suppressed in a past anti-corruption and abuse crackdown. Former military and high-ranking political officials were put on trial.
Abiy was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his peace-building efforts, ending two decades of hostility against Eritrea. The TPLF continues to see Eritrea as an enemy.
Ethiopia’s ruling coalition agreed to form a single party, but the TPLF refused to merge with three other ethnic-based parties, arguing the move was hasty and undemocratic.
Tigray held regional elections despite the federal government, which postponed nationwide polls in August because of Covid-19. Abiy’s government says the vote is illegal.
Fund has withheld
The federal government began withholding some of the funds for social welfare programs in Tigray, part of the regional government’s cash starvation scheme in retaliation for the vote.
Fighting broke out
Abiy sent troops into Tigray, accusing the TPLF of attacking federal troops stationed in the area. The TPLF accused Abiy of punishing the region in a vote in September. Reuters
“Tigray’s people are now armed with modern weapons that can reach the heathen’s base,” it added, a clear allusion to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
The Abiy Ahmed government launched military operations in Tigray on Wednesday, after the prime minister accused local leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) of attacking a military camp in the region. and try to rob military assets.
The TPLF denied the attack and accused Abiy of fabricating the story to justify the military deployment.
Diplomats in Addis Ababa said there were casualties for both sides, but due to the cut off internet and phone connections in Tigray there were no confirmations or details of the reports.
Experts and diplomats are watching in dismay as two heavy armed forces clash in one of the world’s most vulnerable but strategic regions, the Horn of Africa. Observers warn that a civil war in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country with 115 million people, could destabilize fragile neighbors like Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia.
The TPLF dominated the country’s military and government for nearly 30 years before Abiy took office in 2018. However, sweeping political reforms that the 44-year-old new prime minister made during his first months in office left the TPLF feeling vulnerable, and it fell apart last year as Abiy sought to turn the alliance into a single party called the Prosperity.
Tensions have risen in recent weeks as the Tigray region, protesting a delay in national elections until the year after the Covid-19 outbreak, held a local poll in September. The federal government is called illegal.
The fighting started early on Wednesday when Abiy accused the TPLF forces of attacking a military base in Tigray. In an escalation on Friday, Abiy claimed that the airstrikes on sites around the capital Tigray “completely destroyed the missiles and other heavy weapons” and prompted a retaliation attack. is impossible.
Military operations will continue, the prime minister said, and he warned the Tigray residents: “To avoid sudden danger, I recommend that you limit group movements in the cities.”
The Tigray area is home to a large portion of federal soldiers and home to many of its equipment, a legacy of Ethiopia’s 1998-2000 border war with Eritrea, its northern neighbor. .
Some analysts estimate that the Tigray could muster more than half of the total military and motorized divisions of the armed forces, meaning neither side can be confident of a quick victory.
Experts fear a prolonged and catastrophic conflict could “severely stress an Ethiopian country that has already suffered many serious political challenges and caused shock waves … further” .
“A war that many Ethiopians fear might happen but hope never happens seems to be underway… Unless there is an emergency pause. [it] will be devastating not only for the country but also for the entire Horn of Africa, ”the International Crisis Group said at a news conference on Thursday.
Aid groups warn of a potential humanitarian disaster.
Katia Sorin, the chief of the delegation of the International Commission on Red, said: “We are deeply concerned that a military escalation in northern Ethiopia could cause a broader humanitarian emergency, in People are then displaced from their homes and unable to meet their basic needs Cross in Ethiopia.