Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: Six months on and no end in sight

Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: Six months on and no end in sight

Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: Six months on and no end in sight

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for forging detente with Eritrea, sent troops into Ethiopia’s Tigray province six

(yahoo)—It has been six months since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray for a military campaign he vowed would be swift and targeted.

But violence rumbles on, and reports continue to emerge of massacres, rape and widespread hunger.

– How did we get here? –

Abiy, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, sent troops into Ethiopia’s northernmost region in November to detain and disarm leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the regional ruling party that had dominated national politics for three decades.

He said the move came in response to TPLF attacks on army camps.

It also followed months of tensions, including Tigray’s holding of unauthorised elections.

The TPLF initially denied firing the first shots and said Abiy was seeking an excuse to invade the region.

– How bad is the fighting? –

After a few weeks of air strikes and heavy fighting, federal forces took control of the regional capital Mekele in late November.

Abiy declared victory and his government downplayed the TPLF’s ability to mount an insurgency.

But the fighting has not ended.

Addressing diplomats in Mekele in March, General Yohannes Gebremeskel Tesfamariam, head of a command post in Tigray, described a “dirty war” with no fronts that was causing suffering for “defenceless victims”.

Abiy said earlier this month that Ethiopia’s military is fighting “on eight fronts” in hotspots including Tigray, where pro-TPLF fighters have adopted “guerrilla” tactics.

The UN’s latest humanitarian update for Tigray, published Tuesday, describes “active hostilities reported in the central, eastern and northwestern parts of the region.”

“Fighting is still going on and it appears that it is even intensifying in some parts, which makes me believe that apparently there cannot be a military solution to this conflict,” Janez Lenarcic, the EU commissioner for crisis management, told AFP.