Sky News reports from a refugee camp last used during Ethiopia's famine in … Fighting between Ethiopian government forces and rebellious northern leaders could spiral out of control and war crimes may have been committed, the United Nations said on … The already tense relationship between the two sides had been worsening in recent months. But analysts and aid workers say that hundreds of people have died in the fighting since the offensive began, and tens of thousands have been displaced. The conflict comes as Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous nation, faces mounting economic and social challenges amid a volatile democratic transition. What led the prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, to initiate a military campaign against the Tigray region of Ethiopia, and what are the likely consequences for the country and the Horn of Africa? Ethiopia has been careening toward civil war since early November when its military stepped up hostilities against the ruling faction in the northern region of Tigray, gathering troops from across the country as its leaders ignored international pleas to step back from the brink. A​id groups have appealed to the Ethiopian government to secure access for them to the Tigray region so they can replenish supplies for people stranded by the fighting. His efforts earned him the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. Anti-government protests propelled Mr. Abiy into the prime minister’s office in 2018. Ethiopia: What We Know About the War in the Tigray Region Conflict in the north of Africa’s second-most-populous nation is spreading across borders, threatening stability in a … Mr. Abiy’s government has also resorted to old tactics by shutting down the internet and arresting journalists. How was he to know that just 30 months after saying that he would have to stop loving and start killing? Mr. Abiy said the government’s offensive on Nov. 4 was in response to an attack by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front on a military base in Tigray early that morning. He was forced, he says, to postpone elections because of the impact of COVID-19 on Ethiopia, but then he accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front of waging an internal war. At 44, Mr. Abiy is among the youngest and one of the most closely watched leaders in Africa. The rush to war has exacerbated ethnic divisions so badly that it has prompted warnings of potential ethnic cleansing and even genocide. The United Nations and aid agencies are pressing for safe access to Tigray, which is home to more than 5 million people and where 600,000 relied on food aid even before the war. Ethiopia has been careening toward civil war since early November when its military stepped up hostilities against the ruling faction in the northern region of Tigray… But with communications shut off and access blocked, there was no way to independently confirm the government’s claim of control. The Ethiopian military gathered on a road in an area near the border of the Tigray and Amhara regions of Ethiopia earlier this month. What has Mr. Abiy done since coming to power? Another US-based Ethiopia analyst, Alex De Waal, said the Abiy-Afwerki peace deal now looks more like a "security pact" to defeat the TPLF in Tigray. The following afternoon, Gen. Birhanu Jula, the deputy chief of the Ethiopian National Defense Force, said there were “injured soldiers on both sides.”. Ethiopia: War in Tigray still a tricky prospect Gwynne Dyer Independent journalist. Despite its small numbers, the Tigrayan ethnic group has for almost three decades enjoyed disproportionate power and influence in government affairs. As part of his vision for a more unified Ethiopia, Mr. Abiy last year launched the Prosperity Party, which has brought together members of the former ruling coalition — with the exception of the Tigray — along with previously excluded ethnic groups. Mr. Abiy’s government was already facing serious challenges on multiple fronts. Since coming to power two years ago, he has reshaped Ethiopia’s political and economic trajectory. ​Five thousand people crossed the Ethiopian border to Sudan ​just on ​​Nov. Ethiopia Broadcasting Coporation, via Reuters. How is this conflict affecting Ethiopia and its neighbors? There are fears the conflict may escalate into civil war. So far, more than 27,000 people fleeing the violence in Tigray have arrived in Sudan in all, ​according to ​the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs​. Tigray officials immediately closed their airspace, restricted road movement in the region, and declared that soldiers from the Northern Command of the Ethiopian military had defected and sided with the Tigray people. Killing others is a defeat,” Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (pictured) said in June 2018, shortly after surviving a grenade attack at a rally in Meskel Square in the capital, Addis Ababa. Mr. Abiy has said that he wants to unify the country by increasing the federal government’s power and minimizing the autonomy of regional governments. Ethiopia's military conflict with its independence-minded Tigray region has raised fears of civil war in Africa’s second most populous nation. 09:53 Ethiopian troops capture Tigray regional capital, Mekelle from TPLF. [email protected]. But over the past year, Mr. Abiy has come under criticism as his government detained opposition leaders, and security officers were accused of killing hundreds of people following unrest involving different ethnic groups. Mr. Abiy is also engaged in a high-profile standoff with Egypt over a hydroelectric dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile, which will be the largest in Africa when completed. On Nov. 13, Tigray launched rockets at two airports in neighboring Amhara Province, and on the following day said it had fired a volley of rockets at the main airport in neighboring Eritrea, which Tigray accuses of siding with Mr. Abiy. Somalia disowns "own" statement on Ethiopian war in Tigray region. The coalition, known as the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, consisted of four main political parties, largely split along ethnic and geographic lines, and it backed a federalist approach that gave significant power to Ethiopia’s regions. Tigray, the northernmost region of Ethiopia, is home to the Tigrayan people who make up an estimated 6 percent of the country’s population of more than 110 million. But with its brewing civil war spilling into Eritrea, refugees streaming into Sudan, and Ethiopia’s peacekeeping mission to Somalia now under strain because of its domestic turmoil, analysts worry that Ethiopia could destabilize the region. The violence could draw in neighboring Eritrea, which is allied with Ethiopia’s federal government and has a long-established resentment toward the T.P.L.F. Jawar Mohammed, the prime minister’s biggest challenger, who hails from the same Oromo community, is currently in prison and charged with terrorism. But the coalition controlled all levers of power and repressed almost all political opposition. Ethiopia – Tigray: Ethiopians fear a full-fledged war ‘like the old days’ Earlier this week, the UN announced that an agreement was reached with the Ethiopian Government to allow “unimpeded, sustained and secure access” for humanitarian supplies to reach those in need across areas now under its control in Tigray. “I believed peace and stability was becoming possible for Ethiopia where dialogue and peaceful co-existence was to have been a solution. "Eritrea had a major role in the war. Here’s a look at why Tigray became a flash point in Ethiopia, and what the situation there means for the broader region. Besides battling the pandemic and working to bolster a debt-laden economy, he is confronting disaffection within his own Oromo ethnic community, many of whom say they do not see much progress despite his promises. FILE - Sudanese military officers guard Ethiopians who fled war in Tigray region at the Fashaga camp on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, Nov. 20, 2020. Somalia 19.11.2020. Tigray’s battle-hardened, powerful military also took the lead in Ethiopia’s war against neighbouring Eritrea that raged from 1998 to 2000 over disputed border territory. Meles Zenawi, a Tigrayan, led Ethiopia from 1991 until his death in 2012, during which time Ethiopia became a stable nation in a turbulent region and experienced significant economic growth. … Relief agencies in Ethiopia prepared convoys on Thursday to truck aid into the Tigray region, where a month of war is feared to have killed thousands … That would mean secession, in the end, for they can never win power back in Addis Ababa. Many Oromo have also criticized his government’s crackdown on them following the ethnic violence that resulted from the killing in June of a prominent Oromo singer, Hachalu Hundessa. Destroyed buildings from a demonstration after the killing of Hachalu Hundessa, a prominent Oromo singer. Ethiopia won its armed battle for Tigray, but it hasn’t won the political war just yet REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed Nov. 30, 2020. Tigray defied the federal government by deciding to hold parliamentary elections in September, even though general elections were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ever since the war in Tigray started, he has been consumed by worry that the conflict might turn into a full-fledged war like in the old days. Why did Ethiopia’s prime minister launch a military offensive in Tigray? The son of a Muslim father and a Christian mother, he has freed political prisoners, welcomed back exiled opposition groups, helped end hostilities with neighboring Eritrea and played a role in mediating regional conflicts inside and between nations, including Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia. published : 2 Dec 2020 at 04:00. newspaper section: Oped. The Nobel Peace Prize committee on Nov. 17 issued a rare — if tacit — rebuke of one of its honorees. And analysts have warned that even if the government controls the region’s cities, its military could still face a long and brutal guerrilla war. A parade marking the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, in Mekelle, in February. That would mean secession, in the end, for they can never win power back in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia’s civil war in Tigray: What you need to know about who’s fighting whom and the toll it’s taken so far. ordered the start of a military offensive, claimed it had gained control of Tigray’s capital after a day of artillery strikes, shut down internet and phone communications, declared a six-month state of emergency in Tigray, repressed almost all political opposition, propelled Mr. Abiy into the prime minister’s office, arrested in corruption and security-related crackdowns, and tens of thousands have been displaced, following the ethnic violence that resulted from the killing in June of a prominent Oromo singer, Hachalu Hundessa, helped end hostilities with neighboring Eritrea, which will be the largest in Africa when completed. When Ethiopia’s army shelled Humera, a small agricultural city in Tigray, in mid-November, 54-year-old Gush Tela rushed his wife and three children to safety in a nearby town. A large number of civilians have been brutally killed in Ethiopia's Tigray region amid fighting between the local and federal governments, said Amnesty International on Thursday. After fighting the military dictatorship that ruled Ethiopia in the 1970s and 1980s, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or T.P.L.F., emerged as the leader of the coalition that took power in the country in 1991. Even before the fighting​, ​Tigray​ was home to as many as 200,000 refugees and displaced people, according to United Nations agencies. Now, with the conflict intensifying, international aid groups say that tens of thousands more people are fleeing. 20:00 AP Explains: Why Ethiopia Is Suddenly On Brink Of Civil War. Flags representing the Tigray region of Ethiopia lining a wall in the Tigrayan city of Mekele. Comments Off Share Article . Soon after, members of the Tigray ethnic group were purged from positions of power and arrested in corruption and security-related crackdowns — opening a deep chasm between the Tigray region, governed by the T.P.L.F., and the federal government. There are reports that there were 20 brigades of Eritrean troops in Tigray. Tigray has a paramilitary force and a local militia thought to number about 250,000, according to the International Crisis Group. “The Norwegian Nobel Committee follows the developments in Ethiopia closely, and is deeply concerned,” it said in a statement. On Nov. 28, the government claimed it had gained control of Tigray’s capital after a day of artillery strikes, and Mr. Abiy said “we have completed and ceased the military operations” in the region. Ethiopia's Tigray crisis: Thousands flee civil war fought in the shadows that could tear country apart. Africa Civilians at risk in Ethiopia's Tigray war. 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