From 1961 until 1991, Eritrea had fought a long war of independence against Ethiopia. But Sudan can be a perilous place for ethnic minorities and people besieged by war. Regional militias are said to be recruiting civilians as volunteer soldiers and collecting food and other provisions from residents. “Roads are blocked and electricity, phone and Internet are down, making communication nearly impossible,” the UNHCR said in a statement. The Guardian's Jason Burke explains what sparked the conflict, why it threatens to destabilise the Horn of Africa – and examines how the prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, the continent's youngest leader, has gone from winning a Nobel peace prize to presiding over a bloody conflict against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), Jason Burke, Jamie Macwhirter and Abiy did not come for change.”, “Before fighting, they should have engaged in talks,” Fayisa Tolera, 43, a former Oromo Liberation Front soldier, told The Times. The confrontation between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the Tigray State will have profound national and regional ramifications for decades to come. In September, Tigray held elections anyway, against orders from the capital. Information about the conflict in Tigray is hard to come by, due in part to Ethiopia’s government-imposed blackout of phone and internet communication. Last modified on Fri 20 Nov 2020 09.25 GMT, Available for everyone, funded by readers, People who fled fighting in northern Ethiopia tell of atrocities and gruelling journey to Sudan, PM Abiy Ahmed has implied operation will soon be over, but many leaders have found their planned short wars will not end quickly, Abiy Ahmed urges ‘peaceful’ end to three-week conflict after generals say civilians in the regional capital Mekelle will be shown ‘no mercy’, As conflicts rapidly unfold in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, the US, UK and European states are being increasingly sidelined. But Tigrayans balked after Ahmed dissolved the ruling coalition to form a new political party, dismissed all the Tigrayans from his Cabinet, and postponed national elections scheduled for August. They’re sleeping in the open,” Bisschop said. The Ethiopian government had organised militias fighting alongside its army against Tigray forces in a manner similar to 1990s Somalia civil war. Several told The Times that the conflict was liable to escalate as different ethnic militias chose their allegiances and prepared for battle. We sincerely hope not, but we can see the potential for increased inter-communal conflict in that area if Tigrayans end up defending their land against attempted Amhara annexation,” Davidson said, in reference to fears that ethnic or regional forces are taking advantage of the conflict to seize territory. Ethiopia Edges Toward Civil War As Federal Government Orders Attack On Tigray Region Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said forces of the Tigray People's Liberation Front, which controls Ethiopia… Human rights groups and the UN have said such blackouts violate citizens’ basic right to information. He said it’s crucial that a camp be established far enough from the border to protect refugees from spillover fighting. Ethiopia risks falling into an ethnic civil war with regional implications But right now, “our priority is to make sure that the border remains open.”. Nikhita Chulani, Thu 19 Nov 2020 16.22 GMT "There is increasing concern for the protection of civilians against hostilities,” the UN office that coordinates humanitarian assistance said in a statement. ETHIOPIAN CIVIL WAR The Ethiopian civil war, between the Ethiopian government and nationalists from Eritrea (an Ethiopian province along the Red Sea), has raged off and on and has been tightly interconnected with Ethiopia's internal political problems and conflict with neighboring Somalia. Ethiopia's prime minister Abiy Ahmed has said that concerns his country will descend into chaos are unfounded, but fears of an all-out civil war continue to grow. From peace prize to civil war The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, for bringing to an end a 17-year conflict with northern neighbour Eritrea. ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - Ethiopia approached civil war on Wednesday as its Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister ordered the military to … “He’s part of the problem. By Debora Patta Updated on: November 10, 2020 / 7:55 AM / CBS News The Ethiopian Civil War began on 12 September 1974 when the Marxist Derg … The TPLF denied responsibility for the attacks. Within hours of the airstrikes, reports surfaced that “a segment of the federal military was either forcefully taken over or defected to the Tigrayan side,” Davidson said — as many as 15,000 soldiers, by some accounts. “This thing is leading toward civil war,” said 33-year-old Tesfaye Diriba, member of an ethnic Oromo opposition political party who fled to Kenya after federal security forces raided his home and office and arrested his best friend in 2017. “The solution, the way forward, is there should be a dialogue,” Diriba said. NAIROBI, KENYA - Ethiopia's military conflict with its independence-minded Tigray region has raised fears of civil war in Africa’s second most populous nation. China continues to find novel coronavirus on frozen beef, tripe from various countries Its government has previously expelled humanitarian aid workers, nongovernmental organizations, human rights organizations and even UN officials. Ethiopia: Civil War and Nation Building in the 21st Century. Ahmed, who just last year was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, said he was left with no choice but to wage war after TPLF soldiers attacked Ethiopia’s military. “But I worry a lot of lives will be lost. We need to be prepared when it comes to COVID. Power and water have been cut to the region's capital, Mekelle, home to nearly half a million people. Each year, the Ethiopian diaspora in the United States sends hundreds of millions of dollars in remittances back to Ethiopia. The conflict will put an additional strain on the global humanitarian aid sector, already burdened by the COVID-19 pandemic and inundated with more refugees than ever before. “That area is prone to refugees,” Bisschop said — some 100,000 of them, according to the UNHCR. Ethiopia: it’s civil war The clash between the federal government and the regional government of Tigray which has seen reduced political and economic power of the region and the power of the TPLF is likely to lead to a confrontation at the national level. Tigray’s population of 6.5 million is predominantly farmers who grow wheat, barley, teff and sorghum, and raise cattle. Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s embassy in neighboring Kenya has yet to grant visas to journalists who wish to travel to Ethiopia to cover the emerging war. Waging war on the Tigray seems like a suicidal decision by the federal government 0 Ten buses had arrived to bus residents of Tigrayan ethnicity to safety, leaving thousands of worried residents behind. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is facing a leadership test as he starts an offensive against the Tigray region. We need more masks.”. Already in Tigray, “banking services have halted resulting in a lack of cash,” according to the UNHCR. If precedent is any indication, the outlook for their swift and peaceful return to Ethiopia isn’t good. Published Nov. 5, 2020 Updated Nov. 18, 2020 Ethiopia has been careening toward civil war since early November when its military stepped up … https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2020/nov/19/why-is- Hundreds of soldiers on both sides are said to have been killed since the fighting began. Reporting for this article was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. In early November, Ethiopia’s Parliament labeled the TPLF a terrorist organization, complicating any attempt at negotiating peace. On Saturday in the Ethiopian immigrant neighborhood Eastleigh in Nairobi, Kenya, men sat sipping Ethiopian coffee at sidewalk cafes as they scoured WhatsApp for messages and news from their homeland. “We know there’s been federal aerial bombardment, but we don’t know the exact targets or how successful it’s been,” said William Davidson, senior Ethiopia analyst for the International Crisis Group. NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Suddenly Ethiopia appears on the brink of civil war, threatening the stability of one of the world’s most strategic regions, the Horn of Africa, and the fracturing of one of Africa’s most powerful and populous countries. “Is this mass killing a precursor for how this is going to play out? The AU has been unable to pressure Prime Minister Abiy to rethink his decision to wage a war against his people. Tourists sometimes pass through Tigray’s eastern tip en route to visit the nearby Danakil Depression, which many geologists and meteorologists regard as both the lowest and hottest place on earth, reaching 410 feet below sea level and with recorded temperatures as high as 125 degrees. More live in California than any other state, with at least 7,000 in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. nongovernmental organizations, human rights organizations, 'They pointed guns at my kids': Florida police raid home of fired data scientist who built state's COVID-19 dashboard, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner purchase $30 million Indian Creek plot — report, Fox's Lou Dobbs berates Stephen Miller for the White House not jumping on Ted Cruz's Supreme Court offer, 'Melania Antoinette': First lady faces backlash after unveiling tennis pavilion at the White House, Mysterious monoliths on the move: New one appears in San Luis Obispo. Experts warn that remittances may become more important than ever as the current conflict in Ethiopia gives way to extended economic hardship. Totaling more than $3.8 billion, remittances from abroad account for 5% of Ethiopia’s gross domestic product — a figure that has stayed steady or risen despite the pandemic. Source for information on Ethiopian Civil War: Encyclopedia of Russian History dictionary. ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia approached civil war on Wednesday as its Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister ordered the military to confront the country’s well-armed Tigray regional government, accusing it of a deadly attack on a military base and declaring “the last red line has been crossed” after months of alleged provocations. Ethiopian authorities have detained several journalists in recent months, including at least one who was reporting on the conflict in Tigray the day the fighting began. Could Tigray conflict turn Ethiopia into a 'Libya of east Africa'. He managed to pass along accounts that the regional government — the Tigray People’s Liberation Front — had placed a tank outside the city, camouflaged in green. Four hundred and fifty miles north in the region of Tigray, Hiwot Araya’s hometown was about to be besieged. The call from Ethiopia’s capital was grim. From: Inside Story Is Ethiopia heading for a civil war? © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. On Friday the TPLF fired rockets at two airports in federal government-held territory and on Saturday at least three rockets were aimed at an airport in the capital of Eritrea in an attempt by the TPLF to rope Ethiopia's neighbor into the conflict. Rumors from the war zone are impossible to independently confirm. “We are in need of everything — food, fresh water. After Ethiopia disavowal of binding international agreements regarding the Nile Basin, Ethiopian Prime Minister is leading a fierce war on Tigray … “I am hoping for peace,” said Hiwot. Ongoing violence between the national army and forces loyal to the leaders of the northern Tigray region has prompted fears that Ethiopia is on the brink of a civil war. "Our law enforcement operations in Tigray are proceeding as planned: operations will cease as soon as the criminal junta is disarmed, legitimate administration in the region restored, and fugitives apprehended & brought to justice," the prime minister wrote on Nov. 10. A Marxist-Leninists regime that had enjoyed initial popularity due to dissatisfaction with the monarchy proved to be no better at meeting the needs of the people than the previous administration. People are suffering, dying.”, Tolera cited rumors that Oromo and Tigrayan opposition forces — longtime enemies — are now joining forces against Ethiopia’s military. A man from the town of Alamata had climbed to the top of a hill, searching for a signal amidst a government-imposed blackout. “This reinforces the government narrative that they’re not fighting a war against some political opponent they fell out with, but that they’re fighting a war against a brutal junta that uses terrorism to maintain its power.”. If the man’s reports are true, “the government from Tigray is planning to burn the whole city today,” Hiwot told the Los Angeles Times. “Civilians caught in the crossfire always pay the price, especially children, women, elders and the disabled.”. TPLF leadership has accused Eritrea, a longtime foe, of sending ground forces across the border to join the Ethiopian military in attacking Tigray. Viewer Discretion is advised: Famine and war threaten the Ethiopian revolution: Famine in the desert region of Ogaden, and war in the prince of Eritrea. Currently more than 250,000 Ethiopian immigrants and their children live in the United States — more than from any other African country except Nigeria. Kushner is a special correspondent based in Nairobi. But the crisis in Ethiopia, a key U.S. security ally, has been building for months. Within months he brokered peace with neighboring Eritrea to end a violent, two-decades-long standoff between the nations. As Ethiopia descends into civil war, civilians by the thousands begin to stream out. 'I saw people dying on the road': Tigray's traumatised war refugees, Analysis: why ‘final’ offensive may not end Ethiopian conflict, Ethiopian prime minister gives Tigrayan rebels 72 hours to surrender, If Ethiopia descends into chaos, it could take the Horn of Africa with it, Secret UN report reveals fears of long and bitter war in Ethiopia, Ethiopia fighting could drive 200,000 to Sudan in coming months, says UN, The Guardian view on war in Ethiopia: time is short, Ethiopia, led by a Nobel peace winner, is looking down the barrel of civil war. Despite reports that hundreds of soldiers from various sides have already been killed, experts worry it is Ethiopia’s civilians who will bear the brunt of war, just as they did in the town of Mai-Kadra. It is likely to define the very structure, character, and identity of the Ethiopian state for years. Survivors, who hail from the Amhara ethnic group, said their attackers were members of the TPLF with whom they’d long scuffled over territory. Hundreds have been killed and tens of thousands forced to flee their homes in Ethiopia, Africa's second most populous country, as federal troops battle rebels in the northern Tigray region. Refugees from the Tigray region of Ethiopia wait to register at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Hamdayet, Sudan, on Nov. 14. Ethiopian MPs back plan to replace Tigray government Addis Ababa’s military move came after months of feuding between the federal government and the … Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sleepwalked into a civil war. Refugee workers fear tens of thousands more people could flee if the conflict continues. Not only my family, but for all people.”. Ahmed said this month’s airstrikes were in retaliation for attacks by the TPLF that sought to steal weaponry and equipment from Ethiopia’s military and which left an unknown number of soldiers wounded and dead. November 16, 2020, 2:30 AM. Ethiopian leader rejects concerns of a brewing civil war as clashes reportedly leave hundreds dead. Ethiopia’s civil war in Tigray: What you need to know about who’s fighting whom and the toll it’s taken so far. “Eritrean refugees hosted there have been there for a very, very long time and are almost integrated into Sudan as such,” he said. Ethiopia is Africa’s second-most populous nation, and its northern Tigray region was already home to some 100,000 internally displaced people and another 96,000 refugees from neighboring Eritrea — half of the nation’s total, according to the UNHCR. As Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sends troops into the country's northern Tigray region, the country could be on the brink of a civil war. Ethiopia is approaching civil war as its Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister has ordered the military to confront the country’s well-armed Tigray regional government But Hiwot, a 31-year-old mother of two who fled to neighboring Kenya after her husband was killed by the TPLF four years ago, said she fears a similar fate could befall her uncle, her aunt and millions of others who find themselves caught in the crossfire in an emerging civil war between Ethiopia’s military and a well-armed adversary. “His true colors we are now starting to see,” said Abraham Barksa, a 47-year-old Ethiopian refugee in Nairobi from the same Oromo ethnicity as the prime minister. Civil War in Ethiopia: Who, what, why? Jacob Kushner. He said rough terrain will make it difficult for aid and personnel to reach the remote region, and that resources for the refugees were already in short supply. Sudan’s government was responsible for a genocide that began in Darfur in 2003 and for long-standing aerial bombardments in nearby Blue Nile state, some 200 miles away, contributing to the forced displacement of some 2.4 million Sudanese. “We are urging governments in the neighboring countries to keep their borders open for people forced from their homes,” said UNHCR Regional Bureau Director Clementine Nkweta-Salami. The challenge now, in this ancient land with a proud history is to feed, educate and house the people including those displaced by the Eritrean-Ethiopian W… Despite Tigrayans accounting for just 6% of Ethiopia’s population, they dominated the nation’s politics for nearly three decades until Ahmed, a member of the ruling coalition of Oromo ethnicity, was appointed prime minister. By Friday night, some 22,000 refugees had fled from Tigray across the border to Sudan — half of them children, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which was preparing for as many as 100,000 refugees to arrive in days to come. “We don’t have any place to house them. Press freedom watchdogs fear Ahmed’s blackout is meant to obscure information from reaching the public. In an act of defiance, Tigrayan leaders recalled their representatives from the capital and held their own ballot – described as illegal by the federal government. Read full article. All rights reserved. “Anybody who comes to our home to take, we are ready to defend ourselves.”. On Nov. 9, dozens if not hundreds of civilians were slashed with machetes and many were killed during a massacre in the town of Mai-Kadra in the southwest Tigray region, according to Amnesty International. “TPLF commanders and officials must make clear to their forces and their supporters that deliberate attacks on civilians are absolutely prohibited and constitute war crimes,” said Amnesty International’s regional director Deprose Muchena, while the UN’s human rights chief warned that the killings may constitute “war crimes.”, “Ethnically motivated attacks and reportedly ethnic profiling of citizens constitute a dangerous trajectory that heightens the risk of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity,” the UN warned. Experts warn the conflict risks spoiling a delicate peace in the region and could escalate into a full-blown civil war. “There will be no winner in such a situation.”. On Saturday Ethiopia ordered thousands of its soldiers stationed in neighboring Somalia to come home, presumably to fight in the emerging war, according to reporting by Bloomberg. “The government must restore all communication to Tigray as an act of accountability and transparency for its military operations in the region,” Muchena said. “For us, it's not good. On Nov. 4, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered airstrikes against targets in Tigray, a region in northern Ethiopia whose ethnic leaders led the country for nearly three decades before Ahmed was appointed in 2018. This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times. By some estimates the TPLF may have as many as 250,000 soldiers, many of them battle-hardened from years of fighting against Eritrea. Guilty or not, “the pinning of the massacre on the TPLF by the prime minister makes it even less likely that the government is going to pursue anything other than a military solution,” Davidson told The Times. 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