Ethiopia Finally Restores Telco Services In The Tigray Region

     By: Buay Kapduel Buol 

Dec 14, 2020 (Thessherald)–After more than 40 days of power outages and sudden telco service interruptions in the entire Tigray region, the Ethiopian federal authorities have finally resolved to restore telecommunications services in the regional capital, Mekelle.

“Following destruction to infrastructure by the criminal clique’s militia, which resulted in a communication’s and electricity blackout in the Tigray region, the relevant Federal stakeholders have been on the ground since Mekelle came under Federal command, repairing heavy damages sustained. On December 10, 2020 Ethio Telecom shared in a media briefing the details of infrastructure damages caused to the Mekelle Core Site which resulted in telecom service disruptions in the region as of November 4, 2020,” the statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office partly reads.

“As of December 12, 2020, Ethio Telecom shared that mobile voice services in Mekelle city and Maiychew have been restored, in addition to Dansha, Humera, Maikadra, Turkan, Maytsebri, Korem and Alamata”

The federal government also announced the restoration of power and telephone phone services in other areas around Mekelle that had been cut off from the rest of the world since the ENDF and its allies launched large-scale military operations in the Tigray region.

“As it pertains to electric power services, on December 13, 2020 Ethiopian Electric Power announced that electricity has been restored to Mekelle city and its vicinity. Cities and towns between Mekelle and Alamata have had power disruptions due to conductor and insulator damages sustained to transmission lines.”

“Through the coordinated efforts of two technical teams, in addition to Mekelle and surrounding towns, power has also been restored in the north eastern part of the country – specifically Metema, Humera and Welkayit. Both service providers continue to undertake repair work to enable unhindered service provision in the region,” the statement further added.

Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, has rebuffed international calls for a peace dialogue between his government and leaders of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front who are currently in their hideouts in mountainous areas around Mekelle.

Prime Minister Abiy rejects AU mediation efforts

Last month, the Chairperson of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, sent 3 special envoy to Ethiopia in an effort to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table, however, the Ethiopian premier refused to negotiate with the TPLF leaders.

Ethiopian refugees fleeing violence in the northern part of Ethiopia |Photo: © AFP

Currently, more than 50,000 people, predominantly from the Tigray region, have crossed into Sudan in search of safety – and are being sheltered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees under the supervision of the Sudanese government.

In the wake of the endless influx of Ethiopian refugees into Sudan on an almost daily basis, a high-level delegation led by the Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, visited Ethiopia on Sunday and had lengthy discussions with Abiy Ahmed on a number of issues ranging from the GERD-related negotiations to regional security.

Ethiopian fighter jet shot down, 1 pilot captured alive

An Ethiopian pilot captured alive after the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front shot down his fighter jet |Photo: Via Twitter
An Ethiopian pilot captured alive after the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front shot down his fighter jet |Photo: Via Twitter

November 29, 2020 (Thessherald)–The leader of the rebellious forces in Ethiopia’s Tigray region told Reuters in a text message that his forces had shot down an Ethiopian military plane on Sunday and captured the pilot, a day after the government announced its military operation in the region was over.

Debretsion Gebremichael said in an exclusive interview with Reuters that the pilot “was on a mission to bomb”.

According to Reuters, there was no immediate comment from the Ethiopian government or military. The government has previously said it only bombs military targets.

Picture of a burning Ethiopian fighter jet shot down by the Tigray Defense Force |Photo: Via Twitter

On Sunday, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) announced that the ongoing fighting in the Tigray region is far from over. The defiant group accused Prime Minister Abiy of invading their ancestral birthplace.

Humanitarian situation in Mekelle

As the two sides continue to wage a deadly war at the expense of the civilian population, aid agencies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, have warned that the situation in that region is extremely bleak, denouncing the overcrowding of hospitals with the wounded.

“The influx of wounded forced the hospital to suspend many other medical services so that limited staff and resources could be devoted to emergency medical care,” the ICRC said in a statement.

Since last week, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has rejected international calls for a peaceful dialogue, arguing that the ongoing violence in the region is an internal issue that should not be resolved at the international level.

EU diplomat describes Abiy Ahmed as a ‘dog’ in sheep’s clothing

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed |Illustration Nicklas Elmehed

Nov 27, 2020 (Thessherald)–Speaking during a plenary debate on the ongoing situation in the Tigray region, a member of the European Parliament, Assita Kanko, has said that the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, the country’s first Novel Peace Prize laureate, has become a wolf in sheep’s clothing and must be stripped of his award as a punishment for plunging the country into turmoil.

The top European Union official stressed that the Ethiopian leader, Abiy, is no longer a symbol of peace and unity in Ethiopia and the entire Horn of Africa, but rather a dictator who wants to cling to power by means of violence.

“The situation in Ethiopia is urgent, the country’s grip on peace is slipping with every passing day. Its leader, Abiy Ahmed, has a Nobel Peace Prize but he is refusing to pursue peace in his own country, I believe he should give that back. He is being a ‘wolf‘ in sheep’s clothing, a reformer turned authoritarian.”

Kanko explains that the situation in the Tigray region has gone from bad to worse with disturbing reports of ethnic profiling, lack of access to basic services since the government shut down telecoms, internet, banks and blew up electricity in the capital, Mekelle.

“In the Tigray region, hundreds are already dead with ethnic targeted violence and serious violations of human rights. Buildings and homes are shelled and roads are blocked to humanitarian assistance. There are no telecoms, no internet or electricity and millions face the threat of famine in a country once was a stabilizing factor and influence in a fragile region and a pivotal force in the fight against Islamic terrorism.”

She pointed out that if the situation is not ended urgently by imposing an internationally mediated peace, it would lead to a catastrophic humanitarian situation that will end up forcing hundreds of Ethiopians to make their way to Europe.

“Tens of thousands of Ethiopians now cross the border to Eastern Sudan, seeking safety. Progress and development in Ethiopia was hard-won. We must do all we can to prevent that progress from being lost forever. A looming civil war could destabilise the whole region and trigger another humanitarian crisis that could reach the shores of Europe.”

“We must continue to call for international meditation and a ceasefire, as you have done this week Mr. Borrell. But I would also stress that rarely does a crocodile yield to the roar of a toothless tiger.”

Adding that, “The European Union provides large amounts of development assistance to Ethiopia, and we should consider using this and all available leverages to help de-escalate the conflict in the Tigray region. Time is running out to salvage the situation and forge a path to free, fair and transparent elections and ultimately to democracy.“

“Nothing short of our most determined and resolute efforts is needed,” she added.

Since last week, the international community has expressed grave concern after the federal government announced that there will be a tank-to-tank battle inside the capital, Mekelle, with thousands of people have been trapped without escape routes.

UNICEF voices concern over the safety of innocent children in Mekelle

November 25, 2020 (Thessherald)–The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has strongly expressed its deep concern over the safety of innocent children, amid the ongoing military build-up around the capital, Mekelle.

In a strongly-worded statement, the child welfare agency stated that “threat of further escalation in Mekelle, Ethiopia, puts children’s lives at risk.”

“UNICEF urges parties to the conflict in Ethiopia to spare children from the impact of hostilities in the Tigray region, now in their third week. Some 500,000 people live in Mekelle, half of them are children. UNICEF is deeply alarmed that the two parties’ threat of a further escalation in the fighting would put their lives and well-being at immediate risk.”

The UN agency urged the federal government and Tigray leaders to end the weeks-long of fighting and resolve their differences amicably at the negotiating table.

“We call upon parties to the conflict to cease the fighting and reach a peaceful settlement. Humanitarian agencies should be allowed urgent, unimpeded and sustained access to all affected areas.

UNICEF called on the warring parties to uphold the safety of humanitarian workers who are supposed to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to millions of people trapped in the conflict zone without adequate food and water.

“We are also concerned about the safety of hundreds of humanitarian workers who are still in Mekelle and elsewhere across Tigray. We call upon all parties to the conflict to take all necessary measures to ensure their protection.”

Ethiopia’s Government and the TPLF Leadership Are Not Morally Equivalent

Opinion | The leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front are seeking to manipulate the international community into backing a power-sharing deal that grants it impunity for past crimes and gives it far more future influence over the country than it deserves.

Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s former prime minister who served until April 2018 |Photo: Courtesy

Opinion | By Hailemariam Desalegn

Nov 24, 2020 (Thessherald)–Most Ethiopia analysts or so-called experts on the Horn of Africa are busy these days preaching the need for an all-inclusive national dialogue. They’re also calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities in the conflict between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

These seemingly benign calls are at face value noble and well-meaning. After all, calling for negotiated peace has become the textbook proposal for resolving conflicts, wherever they arise. I truly believe that most people recommending this approach are well-intentioned outsiders who are merely echoing the conventional wisdom of how one should resolve conflicts in Africa.

The key problem in the international community’s approach to Ethiopia is the assumption of moral equivalence, which leads foreign governments to adopt an attitude of false balance and bothsidesism.

The problem is that such blanket propositions often don’t work. Indeed, Ethiopia’s neighbor South Sudan is a case in point; it is the archetypal example of how such situations tend to be viewed and handled by the international community. When armed conflict within the ruling party of South Sudan broke out after independence, the peace dialogue that followed resulted solely in a power-sharing arrangement, neglecting proper accountability for the mass killings that had occurred.

The key problem in the international community’s initial approach to South Sudan—and now to Ethiopia, which I led as prime minister from 2012 to 2018—is the assumption of moral equivalence, which leads foreign governments to adopt an attitude of false balance and bothsidesism. Facts and details regarding the true nature of conflicts and the forces igniting and driving them are frequently lost in international efforts to broker peace deals that often crumble as soon as they have been signed.

I confess, a TPLF-dominated coalition ruled Ethiopia shrewdly for 27 years. After being forced to give up the reins of power due to popular protests against our economic and political mismanagement—which I was a part of—the TPLF leadership designed and is now executing a strategy meant to capitalize on the propensity of the international community to fall into its default mode of bothsidesism and calls for a negotiated settlement. The TPLF’s leaders are savvy operators who know how susceptible the international community is to such manipulation.

One major component of this formula was to trigger an armed confrontation with the federal government so that the TPLF’s current leaders would be able to secure immunity for their past and present misdeeds and a power-sharing scheme through an internationally brokered deal. Such an agreement would enable the TPLF leadership to exercise influence that exceeds the limited support it enjoys in a country with a population of 110 million. This strategy is contingent upon three premises.

The first premise is the tendency of the international community to ignore complex political and moral realities and call for superficial dialogues that will invariably end up in power-sharing agreements in which rogue actors are rewarded for instigating violence.

The second premise for this strategy is the belief within the TPLF leadership, very often reinforced by the opinion of external analysts and so-called experts, that it is an invincible force that could withstand or even defeat the Ethiopian National Defense Force, as if other Ethiopians are inferior to its members. The fact is all Ethiopians are battle-hardened, not just those in the TPLF.

The conventional wisdom is that the TPLF leadership could ensure that any military confrontation with the federal government will be a long, drawn-out, and protracted affair. The TPLF leadership and its army are actually locked in from all sides and will have limited capacity to resist the national army. This borderline-mythical sense that the TPLF leadership is invincible only reinforces its brinkmanship and deadly provocations.

The third factor behind the TPLF leadership’s arrogance is its assumption that, due to the seeds of discord and division it has been sowing within the Ethiopian body politic and the army for decades, it could easily prevail in an armed confrontation against the federal government. Prompted by such miscalculation, the party has now triggered an armed confrontation with the federal government.

The TPLF leadership’s illusions about its invincibility and military prowess are now being dispelled rather quickly. The group’s despicable acts against the Northern Command—attacking its bases and seizing military equipment while allegedly ethnically profiling non-Tigrayan members of the national army and committing heinous acts against them—have strengthened the resolve of the federal government and many Ethiopians to bring criminal elements within the TPLF to justice.

Tigray’s War Against Ethiopia Isn’t About Autonomy. It’s About Economic Power.

Is Ethiopia Headed for Civil War?

The only thing going according to plan for the TPLF leadership seems to be the chorus of international personalities and actors calling for a dialogue between the federal government and TPLF leaders. As well-meaning as many of the voices calling for negotiations are, they also seem to ignore the Machiavellian and deadly machinations of the remnants of the old TPLF regime and are shying away from blaming them for destabilizing the country.

If the TPLF leadership is guaranteed the impunity it desires through an internationally brokered deal, the cause for justice and sustainable peace will be severely harmed. Above all, it creates a precedent for other groupings within the Ethiopian federation to learn the wrong lesson: that violence pays off.

“The federal government’s military operations should be completed as quickly as possible and in a manner that minimizes the humanitarian cost of the campaign and brings TPLF leaders to justice while protecting civilians.”

Hailemariam Desalegn

In the meantime, those who are advocating dialogue with the TPLF leadership should carefully consider the full implications of what they are calling for, as they will be opening a Pandora’s box that other ethnic-based groupings are ready to emulate. Those calling for talks should understand that the very prospect of negotiating with the TPLF’s current leadership is an error—as a matter of both principle and prudence.

In the past few days, the true nature of the TPLF leadership has become clear. A senior spokesperson has publicly admitted that the leadership planned and executed an attack against the Northern Command, massacring those members of the army who resisted, in what he referred to as “anticipatory self-defense.” The alleged heinous crimes the TPLF leadership has committed against civilian populations in places like Mai-Kadra—which have been reported by Amnesty International and should be verified by an independent body—would, if confirmed, demonstrate its genocidal desperation.

The rocket strike against the Eritrean capital, Asmara—carried out in a last-ditch attempt to internationalize the conflict—also shows that the TPLF leadership is a threat to the peace and security of the broader region.

Ethiopians should not be expected to embrace such a sinister and dangerous party in the guise of a so-called all-inclusive dialogue. The TPLF leadership, as it stands, is nothing more than a criminal enterprise that should not be included in any dialogue meant to chart the future of Ethiopia. Peace-loving members of the TPLF party and the people of the Tigray region at large, along with other Ethiopians, are the true owners of a democratic Ethiopia.

“The TPLF leadership, as it stands, is nothing more than a criminal enterprise that should not be included in any dialogue meant to chart the future of Ethiopia.”

For its part, the federal government must seek to avoid any civilian casualties and protect all civilians affected by the current conflict. Access to humanitarian assistance must be allowed in Tigray. There are also allegations of ethnic profiling of Tigrayans in some corners of federal government entities, and the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed should investigate these charges as quickly as possible. If verified, this is a dangerous development and should be condemned in no uncertain terms, and the perpetrators should be brought to justice.

Ethiopia should be a place where the constitution and the rule of law prevail so democratization can progress rather than letting our beloved country slide into chaos.

Hailemariam Desalegn served as Ethiopia’s prime minister from September 2012 until April 2018. Twitter: @HMDessalegn.

Canada pledges $3m in humanitarian assistance as violence continues in Ethiopia

Ethiopian refugees line up in a queue waiting to be served |Photo: CGTN

Canada | Press Release

Nov 24, 2020 (Thessherald)–Canada is deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Today, the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, announced new support for humanitarian operations in Ethiopia and Sudan in response to the impact of growing conflict.

Canada’s commitment will provide $3 million to experienced humanitarian partners who are providing assistance to people affected by conflict within the Tigray region of Ethiopia and to those who have crossed the border seeking safety in Sudan.

This support will be provided to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to respond to the urgent needs arising from this rapidly evolving crisis, including for emergency healthcare, shelter and non-food items, water and sanitation, and protection.

“Canada stands alongside our partners to deliver urgent assistance to those affected by this crisis and continues to call on all parties to ensure the protection of civilians, and rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access to those in need.”

Karina Gould, Minister of International Development

The outbreak of the conflict between the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front on November 3, 2020 has led to a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation affecting both Ethiopia and neighbouring Sudan.

Originally published by:

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Trades His Nobel Peace Prize for Civil War

Portrait of Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed | Illustration: Niklas Elmehed.

Opinion | By Bobby Ghosh

Nov 19, 2020 (Thessherald)–We may be long past holding laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize to its lofty standards – the cruel cynicism of Henry Kissinger and open bigotry of Aung San Suu Kyi are just two instances of honorees behaving dishonorable – but Abiy Ahmed’s belly flop from the pedestal is nonetheless remarkable.

In less than a year since his uplift in Oslo, Ethiopia’s prime minister has embroiled his country in a civil war and brought the Horn of Africa to the edge of chaos.

If Abiy cannot pull back from the precipice, his confrontation with the leadership of the northern region of Tigray will reverse the gains from years of growth and investment that have made Ethiopia’s economy the envy of the continent. Long-simmering tensions between the central government and the Tigrayans, a minority ethnic group that once dominated Ethiopian politics, have boiled over. In early November, Abiy ordered government forces to attack the restive northern region of Tigray, blaming its leaders for a strike on an army base.

As the fighting has escalated, Abiy and Debretsion Gebremichael, president of the Tigray region, have painted themselves into opposite corners. The prime minister has vowed not to stand down his forces until all weapons in Tigrayan hands have been destroyed. He is resisting international calls for mediation. Debretsion has boasted that his fighters, thought to be 250,000-strong, “cannot be beaten.”

For all his promises of a swift victory, Abiy now faces a protracted civil war that could suck in other ethnic groups — or, to quote from his acceptance speech in Oslo last December, “brothers slaughtering brothers on the battlefield.”

The death toll is in the hundreds and rising fast. There have been reports of war crimes against non-Tigrayans in the north, and political score-settling against Tigrayans in Addis Ababa. United Nations officials warn that “the risk of atrocity crimes” is growing.

The conflict has already spilled over Ethiopia’s borders, and thousands have fled the fighting into neighboring Sudan. Debretsion has accused another neighbor, Eritrea, of joining forces with the Ethiopian military, and has launched rockets at the Eritrean capital of Asmara.

There are also dangerous consequences for a third neighbor: To strengthen his forces against the Tigrayans, Abiy has withdrawn thousands of Ethiopian peacekeepers from Somalia, where they were fighting an Islamist insurgency. This diversion comes even as the Trump administration is contemplating a drawdown of forces from Somalia.

Hopes for stability and prosperity in the Horn of Africa rest substantially on Ethiopia’s ability to maintain internal equilibrium, keep peace with its neighbors and act as the region’s economic engine. The first of these challenges was always going to be the hardest. Abiy’s appointment in 2018 ended three decades of rule by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. (The prime minister is from the Oromo, the largest ethnic group.)

It was inevitable that Abiy’s political and economic reforms would reduce Tigrayan influence, and just as inevitable that the northerners would receive this poorly. But they are not the only ethnic group feeling hard done by: The Amhara and Somali — second- and third-largest — have grievances of their own. And over the summer, Oromo anger over the murder of a popular singer led to violence.

The prime minister responded by imposing authoritarian restrictions and jailing political opponents and journalists. Whether general elections, scheduled for late August but postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, would have deepened the ethno-political divide or given Abiy a national mandate to rule is an open question.

The Tigrayans went ahead with regional elections, which Addis Ababa dismissed as invalid. But the high turnout gave the regional government more credibility than the prime minister can muster, and it strengthened Tigrayan demands for greater autonomy — a direct challenge to Abiy, who wants greater authority for the central government.

With other regions closely following the outcome of the confrontation, the prime minister will be loath to show leniency. Reports suggest his government has sacked or suspended scores of Tigrayans from positions in the bureaucracy and military. This purging will likely deepen the northerners’ determination to fight on, and force the Nobel laureate even further into ignobleness.

Bobby Ghosh is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He writes on foreign affairs, with a special focus on the Middle East and Africa.

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UN Relief Chief calls for de-escalation of violence in Tigray region

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock |Photo: Prokeraia

Nov 18, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator of the United Nations, Mark Lowcock, has expressed deep concern over the growing violence in the Tigray region and urged the warring parties to allow humanitarian aid to reach vulnerable populations.

“I am increasingly concerned about the evolving humanitarian situation in northern Ethiopia and neighbouring areas,” said Lowcock.

Relief Chief Mark Lowcock

Adding that, “Even before the current hostilities, nearly a million people in Tigray, and millions more who live in close proximity to its regional and national boundaries, were in need of humanitarian assistance. Many humanitarian organizations, working closely with national, regional and local authorities, have been deeply involved in helping meet those needs for many years.”

The top UN official noted that, “ the current situation is heightening the needs and the vulnerability of local people. It is disrupting the work of UN and other humanitarian organizations.”

He called on both sides to respect International Humanitarian Law and safeguard aid workers who are currently providing life-saving humanitarian assistance in the conflict zone.

“I call for full access to reach people in need wherever they are; safe passage for civilians seeking assistance; and the security of aid workers. Humanitarian workers must be able to deliver assistance without fear of attack.”

“Our humanitarian priorities in the region are the protection of civilians, including children; preventing gender-based violence; and getting food, clean water and health care to those who need it, including civilians displaced by ongoing hostilities.”

“The UN is engaging with the Government and relevant authorities to facilitate immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access. We are committed to staying and delivering humanitarian assistance.”

My observation on Ethiopia’s ongoing conflict and its effects on Tigray Region

Opinion | By R. Nhial Tuany

Nov 17, 2020 (Thessherald)–The recent killing of civilians in the Ethiopian Tigray Region has drawn international attention and reports of escalating violence are making daily headlines in international news media, prompting human rights organizations to call for an investigation into alleged war crimes committed.

This week, it was reported on VOA, BBC, UN, Al Jazeera and many other networks. The alleged perpetrators are said to be from TPLF Army. However, the TPLF leadership said those are wild accusations.

As the conflict enters the third week, Eritrea finds itself in a hostile situation with rockets directed into it’s territory. While there were no serious casualties, the rockets hit the outskirts of Asmara, the nation’s capital. President Isaias Afwerki, the lone and longest serving leader in the Horn of Africa is not a fan of the TPLF party which is currently governing Tigray Region.

The two sides were involved in a deadly border war on a disputed territory of Badme in the late ‘90s but an agreement was reached in the early 2000’s to silence the guns, but tensions between the two neighbors did not subside until the coming to power of Abiy Ahmed Ali the PM of Ethiopia in 2018.

Prime Minister Abiy came to power with aggressive reforms in a country which was dominated by TPLF political machine from Tigray Region. He went on to establish relations with Eritrea and invited President Isaias to tour various cities in his country.

Ethiopian Airlines for the first time went to Eritrea

His initiatives of reforms and peace with Eritrea elevated his stocks as a man of peace and won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.

The current war in Tigray Regional State is a wrong move for Ethiopia for many reasons, but I will leave that for political analysts.

In this article, I will focus my observations primarily on the Tigray TPLF Party and its branches on why it is bad for them to invite the war to their ancestral home Tigray.

The TPLF ruling party in Tigray Regional State which was also a party in the federal government has enjoyed a considerable influence over Ethiopia for a while. It has a lot to lose by choosing confrontation this time although they felt marginalized and targeted by Abiy led government.

The best (TPLF) could have done is wait, strategize and comply with Federal authorities. Unless there is a surprise shift in the conflict where their forces are victorious, there is high possibility and in the long run Mekelle, the largest city could be taken by the federal army. If this happens, it would mean displacement of hundred of thousands civilians pouring in to Sudan.

The TPLF army would retreat to the mountains regroup and fight on as rebels. Again, no one can question their capabilities. History was on their side during the 30 years struggle against a vicious Derge which ruled Ethiopia until 1991 when TPLF army marched to Addis Ababa taken control of the whole country. But things have changed from early ‘90s and now. Eritrea is no longer going to fight by its side. At the end of the day, it’s Tigray region that may be destabilized. Those who are in Eastern Africa have seen the ugly nature of war in Somalia and most recently in South Sudan where many civilians were displaced from regions such as Upper Nile and Equatoria.

TPLF army in Mekelle could have done the following before getting dragged into messy hostility: ~

• Work with the federal government in Addis Ababa, comply by handing over the so called “Most Wanted Fugitives” who found sanctuary in Mekelle City.

• Design a formula and work with other Oromo where it could trap Abiy by taking advantage of the division within Oromia and use the firebrand Oromo Nationalist leader Jawar Mohammed followers who are unhappy with PM Abiy. This way, they could find ways to topple the government and take (BETE MENGIST/ STATE HOUSE) without a single shot fire in Tigray.

• Use the federal government machinery to their advantage: – Tigray men and women in uniforms are well equipped inside various regions in Ethiopia through Army, Federal Police and Security. They know where all the weapons are stocked. They dominated key positions, so challenge the system covertly in a way where it would be difficult for Abiy to make a move on them as he is doing with his injection of a six month state of emergency in Tigray Regional State.

Economic power : – TPLF for almost thirty years has entrenched its foot on the economy. Most of the businesses are controlled by them. Who would want to loss such leverage? They could have think twice, because any military operation in Tigray by the federal government would affects all Tigrian in Ethiopia, specifically their bottom line, money. The business community could have played a big role in calming regional leaders like Dr. Debretsion G/Michael, Dr. Addis Alem, Spokesman’s Reda and those with influence to play a safe political game before the federal army is forced to move on them as they are doing now.

Elections in the region: – The party leaders (TPLF) could have complied and not run their own sham elections where TPLF won with over 90% of the votes unopposed (other parties boycotted). By going ahead with the elections, they were directly poking the federal government in the eye, and brazenly saying they got muscles to do away without its approval as Covid19 was raging on in the world, a dangerous precedent.

In conclusion, the TPLF leadership in Mekelle opened a pandora box which it may not be able to close. The civilians are the ones to suffer in the long run. It’s not a risk worth to take even if they successfully win militarily in the foreseeable future. Right now, PM Abiy has the upper hand and will try his best to unite all Ethiopian and bring them to his side in the fight against the (TPLF Junta), a name politically coined recently by the federal government to dirty the image of TPLF and its supporters.

The author is a South Sudanese American and can be reached at:

Belgium is concerned about the escalation of the conflict in northern Ethiopia

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo |RTBF

Press Release

Nov 16, 2020 (Thessherald)–Belgium expresses its concern about the escalation of the conflict in northern Ethiopia and the looming humanitarian crisis. Belgium calls for an immediate ceasefire by all parties involved.

Minister of Development Cooperation Meryame Kitir: “Humanitarian actors must be given timely, independent, unimpeded and unconditional humanitarian access to the Tigray region in order to provide indispensable assistance in a safe manner to the population in need”.

Minister Kitir discussed the situation in Ethiopia today with the EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič and warns: “If this situation continues, it will cause tremendous harm to the people of Tigray, throughout Ethiopia, and even in the region. All the progress that has been made in recent decades is in danger of being lost. The humanitarian consequences of the conflict are already tangible”.

Belgium also calls on all parties involved to respect international humanitarian law and human rights. Belgium is alarmed by the reports of, among others, Amnesty International on alleged killings and in line with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, calls for an immediate and independent investigation.

The use of ethnically inspired hate speech that incites to violence is also very disturbing. This threatens to drag the country into a destructive vicious circle.

Belgium calls for an inclusive national dialogue to solve the underlying problems of the conflict.

Originally published on

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