Prime Minister Abiy of Ethiopia has ordered the army to move to the Tigray region. He says the regional government is behind an attack that was committed last night on an army base. With it, “the last red line” has been exceeded, said Abiy in a TV speech
A spokesman for the Prime Minister told the press agency Reuters that there is already a fight. The government has also declared a state of emergency for Tigray for six months.
Connoisseurs of the region warn that this may be the beginning of a civil war with consequences in other countries, such as Sudan and Somalia. The US calls not to let the situation get any further out of hand.
In the attack of fighters of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) on a base in the city of Mekele, several “martyrs” were killed, Abiy said. Government forces have also been attacked in the city of Dansha. According to Abiy, the TPLF was hoping to exploit artillery guns in the attacks. It is unclear whether that succeeded.
Nobel Peace Prize
Tigray is located in the north of Ethiopia and borders Eritrea, the country with which Abiy made peace in 2018 after years of war. It earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. Abiy had come to power that year too. Before that, the TPLF was the dominant party in Ethiopian politics for over 25 years.
Abiy was carrying out reforms. He fired people and set up a political party with which the TPLF did not join.
Tensions between Tigray and the government in Addis Ababa increased afterwards. The TPLF considers the government army to be an occupying force and would have armed fighters in recent weeks.
In response to Abiys decision, the rulers in Tigray say that the “invasion” is intended to subdue the population. Federal troops are no longer allowed to move in Tigray. The airspace is closed, telephones and the Internet are no longer working.
Elections in Ethiopia were to be held in August, but these were postponed due to the coronapandemic. The TPLF was against postponement. In Tigray, the election went on.
Ethiopia has 110 million inhabitants. There are about 5 million people in Tigray.