what is the current situation


(CNN) — Until the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began in February this year, the world’s newest war was taking place in Africa, in a patch of territory in northern Ethiopia known as Tigray. The violence and atrocities of this conflict are little different from what we are seeing now in Eastern Europe.

The war in Tigray erupted in November 2020, when the Ethiopian government launched a military operation against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), accusing the group of attacking a federal army base on the outskirts of Mekelle.

Troops from neighboring Eritrea soon joined Ethiopia’s military campaign against the TPLF.

According to reports from different Human Rights organizations and the media —among them CNN—thousands of people have died in the fighting, and there are reports of razed refugee camps, looting, sexual violence, massacres and extrajudicial executions. Meanwhile, the threat of a humanitarian crisis grows.

A Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fighter in Mekelle on June 30, 2021. (Credit: YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images)

The parties recently agreed to a humanitarian ceasefire, although the conflict is far from over.

The origins of the war in Tigray

Ethiopia is made up of 10 regions – and two cities – that enjoy significant autonomy, including the ability to have regional police and militia, and are largely divided along entrenched ethnic lines. Due to a previous war with Eritrea, there are also a large number of federal troops in Tigray.

For decades, the TPLF ruled Ethiopia with an iron fist, in a framework of stability and economic growth at the cost of basic civil and political rights.

Until in 2018, Abiy Ahmed – Nobel Peace Prize winner for his role in ending the previous war with Eritrea – was appointed by the ruling class to quell tensions and bring about change, without endangering the old political order. He became prime minister, reorganized the ruling coalition under the new Prosperity Party and ostracized the TPLF in the process, which took refuge in Tigray.

Abiy’s government, with Pan-Ethiopian aspirations, generated concern among the inhabitants of the different regions, who believed that they would lose their autonomy, and tensions began to grow.

CNN uncovers evidence of torture in Tigray 8:46

So, in September 2020, Tigray advanced in its regional parliamentary elections, despite the fact that Abiy had postponed them due to the covid-19 pandemic, and the escalation increased.

It all came to a head on November 4, 2020, when Abiy launched a military operation against the TPLF, which he accused of attacking a federal army base on the outskirts of Mekelle, the regional capital of Tigray, and trying to steal their weapons.

Ethiopian national troops, aided by Eritrean soldiers, declared victory three weeks later after taking Mekelle and installing an interim administration loyal to the central government in Addis Ababa.

But the violence and clashes continued.

The atrocities and suffering of the population

Reports from international observers, human rights groups and CNN showed the suffering of the civilian population during the conflict. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have even warned for ethnic cleansing in Tigray.

Thousands of people are estimated to have died in the fighting, and there are reports of razed refugee camps, looting, sexual violence, massacres and extrajudicial executions. Many more have fled to Sudan, in what the United Nations has called the worst exodus of refugees from Ethiopia seen in two decades.

Underground churches in Ethiopia in danger, according to UNESCO 1:01

CNN Y International Amnesty reported, in separate investigations, the massacres carried out by Eritrean forces in Dengelat and Auxum in 2020

Ethiopian soldiers staged another massacre in the Tigirian city of Mahibere Dego in 2021, according to another investigation by CNN.

To date, the Eritrean government has denied any involvement in the atrocities and the Ethiopian government has pledged to investigate any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, in September 2021, the UN claimed that a “de facto blockade of humanitarian aid” limited its ability to access more than 5 million people in Tigray – 90% of the population – in need of humanitarian aid, including 400,000 people facing famine conditions.

In his recent “Emergency Food Security Assessment” Tigray, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) stated that 83% (4.6 million people) of the population surveyed in the Tigray region were classified as food insecure, and 2 million them (37% of the population) in a situation of severe food insecurity.

What is happening now in Tigray?

The Ethiopian government declared a unilateral ceasefire shortly after taking the city of Mekelle in, but the TPLF rejected the truce, and the fighting not only continued, but also moved into the neighboring Amhara and Afar regions.

How this massacre in Ethiopia was captured on video 4:26

In November 2021, TPLF forces claimed to have seized two key towns in Amhara in the midst of a rapid advance on the road to Addis Ababa, the country’s capital.

Ethiopia denied the advances of the TPLF, at the same time increasing its operations and airstrikes against targets in Tigray.

But in 2022 the situation in the conflict seems to be improving.

In March, the Abiy government in Ethiopia proposed a humanitarian ceasefire to allow aid to be sent to the people of Tigray, and the TPLF and its allies they accepted The initiative.

Food aid trucks entered Tigray in April for the first time since mid-December, according to a Tweet from the WFP on Friday.

The convoy with more than 500 tons of food and supplies nutritional supplements was sent to Mekelle for “communities on the brink of starvation,” the tweet said.

With information from Eliza Mackintosh, Bethlehem Feleke, Jennifer Hansler, Lianne Kolirin and Reuters.



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