Ethiopia on edge as conflict breaks out in Tigray


Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday night announced that the Tigray regional government TPLF had attacked the Ethiopian National Defense Forces base, in Tigray. Prime Minister Abiy in response ordered military offence following the attack. The Ethiopian National Defense Forces, under the direction of a Command Post, have since been ordered to carry out the mission.
Ambassador Redwan Hussen, spokesperson of the newly established state of emergency task force informed Capital that, although the situation was an unwarranted attack on the National Defense it is not war declared in the country rather it is an undergoing of a short period operation, in attempts to protect rule of law and the constitution from the criminal group.
Similarly, neighboring countries have shown positive support to the federal government in support of its operation against TPLF.
Redwan stated that the neighboring countries including Eritrea, Sudan and Djibouti have shown their positive stand with the federal government to fight the criminal group.
“Sudan has closed its boarder to specially to control illegal arm transaction from Sudan to Ethiopia,” he explained.
Djibouti on its end as a bordering country, has promised to deliver any TPLF officers who comes in seeking political asylum. Redwan in compliment said that the government of Djibouti has taken an assignment to protect trade flow at the boarder especially on imported capital commodities.
A couple of days ago, the local Djibouti newspaper called ‘Les Nouvelless de Djibouti’ reported that 16 Tigrayan officers of the Ethiopian Federal Army came to Djibouti via Galileo on November 3, 2020 to seek political asylum in which the presidential guard recovered them and they are now under investigation at the documentation and security service. The report cited that these officers will be delivered to Ethiopia by the Djiboutian air force plane.
With regards to Eritrea, Redwan explained that even though the borders had been closed for years, the Eritrean government has volunteered to protect civilians getting in across the borders.
Since the present Government came to office by peaceful means in April 2018, members of the TPLF group, who ruled the country for the past 27 years have been fugitives from justice hiding in the city of Mekelle.
“Over the past two years, the Federal Government has adopted an attitude of patience to contain transgressions by the TPLF and the illegal elements it has been funding and mobilizing to destabilize the nation,” reports state from the prime minister’s office on November 6, 2020.
“The government has been trying to adopt all the peaceful means by giving space for dialog, negotiation and reconciliation both officially and unofficially,” said Redwan, “However currently things have gone beyond and this has to be corrected unless it grows to become a national challenge,” he added.
General Berhanu Jula, on his statement said the conflict will end in Tigray. He ensured the public that the military forces are working to ensure that the conflict does not trickle down to the central part of the country.
The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also expressed his alarm over the reported armed clashes in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. He called for immediate measures to de-escalate tension and for a further peaceful resolution to the dispute. He underlined also underlined that the stability in Ethiopia is important for the Horn of Africa region.
Similarly, the US embassy in a statement urged for urgent measures to be taken on de-escalating the situation. “We strongly encourage all parties to prioritize civilian security and safety,” the statement read.
Redwan argues that even if the International organizations and inter-regional organizations are calling the two parties to come to mutual agreement and stop the war, the TPLF group has surely crossed the line.
“This is conflict between federal government and an illegal armed group which has been part of the government, once ruler and financed by the government,” he states.
“This situation has reached a level where it cannot be prevented and controlled through such mechanisms until the government clears all the arms they had and made things as they previously were by protecting the rule of law and the nation. This will not be a long war rather a short period of operation. We cannot converse with such kind of nation betrayers,” Redwan expressed.
The federal government accuses the regional government and its authorities for; endangering the constitution and the constitutional order, threatening the country’s sovereignty, seriously impending and discharging its constitutional responsibility in the Region, and violating decisions of the House of Federation.
The Federal Council of Ministers further declared a State of Emergency in Tigray Region in its 21st Extraordinary Session held, on the 4th of November 2020.
In accordance with article 93 of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the state of emergency has power on the country’s peace, safety and security of its citizens and to prevent acts that may lead the country to further unrest and instability.
The State of Emergency is decreed for a period of six months and a State of Emergency Task Force to be led by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, composed of representatives from pertinent institutions and accountable to the Prime Minister has been established through the State of Emergency decree.
The State of Emergency Taskforce could through directives expand or restrict the geographic scope of application of the decree. Detailed information regarding the State of Emergency on a regular basis will be provided in due course.
“Given the challenge posed by the flagrant and repeated unlawful acts in the Tigray Regional State to national security as well as law and order, the Federal Government has deemed it necessary to undertake its law enforcement operation within the framework of a State of Emergency,” states, the Prime Minister office’s statement on November 6, 2020.
The regional governments of Oromia and Amhara regions, as well as members from the federal parliament, also claim that the TPLF played a big role in the massacre over the weekend of 54 people in the western part of Ethiopia by giving arms supplies to members of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).
TPLF, one of the four coalitions of Ethiopia People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), has been dominating Ethiopia’s politics for almost 27 years. Its dominance ended after Prime Minister Abiy assumed power two and half years ago following public unrest that led to the resignation of his predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn.
“TPLF has been arming the Oromo Liberation Front-Shene group and supporting its act of violence against civilians,” says Shemelis Abdisa, President of Oromia, the largest among the ten autonomous regions of Ethiopia. The deadly violence included the execution-style death of dozens of people belonging to the Amhara group in the Oromia region.