Why is there a war in the Tigray region?
How did the war between Abiy and TPLF administrations start?
The row between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), once a dominant member of Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has been simmering for months and came to the fore after a regional election was held in defiance of the federal government.
However, reports indicate that very early Wednesday morning of 4 November, an aircraft carrying special commandos unit took off on a mission to eliminate the Tigray leadership.
Our sources suggest that the force was airlifted into Mekelle by two helicopters and an Antonov from Bahr Dar, to try and seize the TPLF leadership at a hotel. Social media reports that the hotel in question was the Planet.
The commandos landed without a problem and drove into Mekelle, seizing control of the hotel. But the intelligence they had been operating was false. The Tigray leaders they were seeking were not at the hotel during the time of the ride. The commandos then withdrew.
It is not clear if the unit was involved in any fighting, however, after the failed raid Tigray forces took over the Ethiopian National Defence Force camp (the Northern Command barrack in Mekele) which is located near the main airport and after intense fighting Tigray forces succeeded to control both the Northern command and the main airport)
It is not clear if the commando raid preceded Prime Minister Abiy’s claim of a TPLF attack on the Northern Command barracks, but there had already been some fighting in Western Tigray by then between Amhara Special Forces and Tigray troops. Prime Minister Abiy said the reported aircraft had been sent to Tigray to “deliver new notes” – presumably cover-up for the unsuccessful raid. No much detail is available on what happened to special commandos that were sent to carry this raid.
The Tigray regional leader has said they are ready to fight to defend the region, which would be “a burial place for the reactionaries”, calling on Tigrayans to understand the situation and make all the necessary preparations.
“We have prepared our army, our militia and our special force. Our preparation is aimed at averting war, but if we are to fight, we are ready to win,” Mr Debretsion said.
In justifying the military confrontation, Mr Abiy’s office has accused the TPLF of “continued provocation and incitement of violence” and said, “the last red line had been crossed”. There are risks with this level of rhetoric that the conflict in Tigray, if not amicably resolved, could easily blow up into something more serious, which could exacerbate tensions in the rest of the country.