Inside the conflict bringing Ethiopia to crisis

Remigio Civitarese
Ноября 20, 2020

Behind the rival claims, the region's refugee crisis amplified as Sudan reported 36,000 people had now streamed across its borders to escape the violence.

Then fighting broke out on 4 November after Ethiopia's central government accused the TPLF of attacking a military base to steal weapons.

"I call upon all the Tigrayan people to go out en masse to drive out the invaders", he added.

On Thursday, Ethiopia's army head Berhanu Jula accused World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who served as health minister under TPLF leader Meles Zenawi, of working with the TPLF. The Ethiopian government has, however, ruled out talks with the TPLF. "It is now in a desperate mode as it is surrounded", Berhanu said.

On Wednesday federal police announced arrest warrants for 76 army officers, some of whom are reportedly retired.

Abiy, last year's Nobel Peace Prize victor, announced the military campaign in Tigray on November 4, saying it was in response to TPLF attacks on federal military camps.

Tensions ramped up after Tigray held its own elections in September - defying a nationwide ban on polls because of coronavirus - and tried to brand Abiy an illegitimate ruler.

A new camp will be built at Um Tinetba in Gedaref state to cope with the influx, commission head Abdulla Soliman told AFP. The United Nations warned that aid is being blocked from reaching people in need.

Hundreds have died in the conflict in Tigray since the beginning of November.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Wednesday that the Ethiopia Red Cross Society had "transported hundreds of people injured in areas affected by clashes".

The Ethiopian government statement came a day after arrest warrants were issued for 76 military officials that the government said were affiliated with the Tigray leadership. He has been ranked as one of Time magazine's most influential people.

"As we enter the final phase of law enforcement operations against this group, we would like to remind the leaders of this group that the atrocities that have been committed by their forces and loyalists in places like Maykadra constitute serious crimes both under Ethiopian and worldwide law", the statement said, using an alternative spelling.

Regional powers Kenya and Uganda have called for negotiations to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

The leader of rebel forces said on Thursday that the town of Axum remained in their hands though another locality, Shire, had fallen to federal troops seeking to close in on the state capital Mekelle.

A senior Tigrayan official, Wondimu Asamnew, said in an email that Tigrayan forces "have adopted a defensive posture on all fronts".

Ethiopia has denied TPLF claims that Eritrean soldiers are directly involved in the conflict.

Meanwhile, Tigray forces fired rockets at a neighbouring state on Friday, heightening fears the internal conflict could spread to other parts of the country.

But Tigray's leaders hit back, claiming to be "inflicting heavy defeats" and insisting they would not surrender.

The TPLF on Friday accused government forces of an attack on the university in Mekele injuring an unspecified number of students.

Forces loyal to that party are fighting the government in the restive Tigray region.

Ethiopia's military is estimated at 150,000 troops, a figure that does not include special forces and militias.

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