The government continues its attacks in the Tigray region, where hundreds are said to have died on both sides.
Thousands of people are fleeing the conflict in the East African country of Ethiopia. As reported by the refugee authority of Kassala province, at least 3,500 people have fled to neighboring Sudan from the clashes between government troops and the TPLF, the ruling people's liberation front in the embattled Tigray region. A diplomat in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa said hundreds of deaths had occurred on both sides of the conflict.
The Ethiopian government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accuses the TPLF of jeopardizing the constitutional order and the sovereignty of the entire country. The TPLF recently attacked a military base trying to steal equipment. The parliament in Addis Ababa had recently approved Prime Minister Ahmed to set up a transitional government in the Tigray region and to take military action against the TPLF.
Mr. Ahmed, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for his reconciliation policy with neighboring Eritrea, is sticking to his military course despite international appeals. He described the military operations as "law enforcement operations". These would end when "the criminal junta is disarmed, legitimate government is restored in the region, and fugitives are arrested and tried". He ruled out a dialogue before the end of the mission.
Observers fear a civil war
The chairman of the African Union (AU), Moussa Faki Mahamat, appealed to both parties to the conflict to stop all fighting, to respect human rights, and to guarantee the protection of civilians.
The Tigray head of government accused neighboring Eritrea of intervening on Ahmed's side in the conflict. He spoke of a "new phase" of the war.
The information provided by the conflicting parties is difficult to verify because the region is largely cut off from the outside world. Airports and roads are closed, communication links cut. There are said to be more than 150 EU citizens in the area alone, as well as hundreds of other foreigners. The aid organization Doctors Without Borders reported on Twitter about intensifying fighting in the region and warned of a humanitarian crisis.
Behind the fighting is also a conflict between the two ethnic groups, the Tigray and the Oromo. The Tigray have been the dominant population group for more than 25 years and ruled the country for years. Members of the Oromo were repeatedly oppressed.
That changed when Mr. Ahmed was elected President as a member of Oromo in 2018. He initiated reforms, removed long-serving functionaries and founded a new party, which the TPLF, which was previously represented in the party coalition, did not join. The TPLF and many people in Tigray now feel that they are not represented by the central government and want greater autonomy.
Due to the current development, observers fear a civil war in the country with 110 million inhabitants, which could also destabilize the neighboring states in East Africa.