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Conflict in Ethopia

Dec 21, 2021

By Hajira Khota

Tigrayan troops fighting the central government say they have pulled out of neighbouring regions in northern Ethiopia, paving the way for a possible peace after 13 months of violent conflict.

The confrontation between the federal government and the TPLF, which ruled Ethiopian politics for nearly 30 years before Prime Minister Abiy came to office in 2018, erupted in November 2020.

Abiy, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate for 2019, predicted a quick victory. In late November, his troops took Tigray’s capital, Mekelle, but by June, Tigrayan forces had launched a counter-offensive that saw them recapture much of their province and expand battle into the neighbouring Amhara and Afar areas. The Ethiopian military launched an onslaught at the end of November, pushing the advancing Tigrayan forces back hundreds of kilometers.

The war in Africa’s second-most populous country has further destabilized an already fragile region, sending tens of thousands of refugees into Sudan, taking Ethiopian troops out of war-torn Somalia, and relying on the army of Eritrea.

As a result of the fighting, tens of thousands of people have been slaughtered, 400,000 people in Tigray are facing famine, and 9.4 million people in northern Ethiopia require food aid.

The administration has already been accused by the UN of implementing a de facto blockade, which it has rejected.

The United Nations agreed to establish an independent investigation into human rights violations in Ethiopia, a decision that the Ethiopian government fiercely opposes.

International mediators, including the African Union and the United States, have attempted to broker a truce between the two sides in order to let aid into Tigray on numerous occasions, but both sides have refused until certain conditions are met.

The US expressed the expectation that the Tigrayans’ retreat to their northern stronghold “opens the way to broader negotiations.”

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