Conflict in Ethiopia: Abiy calls on the population to use violence

Status: 01.11.2021 2:26 p.m.

In Ethiopia, the conflict over the Tigray region is worsening. Prime Minister Abiy called on the population to use violence against the rebels. At the same time, the government accused the fighters of killing more than 100 young people in the town of Kombolcha.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has called on the population to take up arms in the conflict with fighters from the Tigray region. It is the duty of the citizens to “stop, destroy and bury” the troops of the People’s Liberation Front of Tigray (TPLF), Abiy wrote on Facebook, according to BBC reports.

The Ethiopian government made serious allegations against the rebels. The TPLF executed more than 100 young people in the city of Kombolcha, the government press office said on Twitter. Details were not given. It remained unclear, for example, whether those killed were fighters or civilians. At first, the TPLF did not comment.

Blinken calls for negotiations on a ceasefire

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on all sides to end military action and to start negotiations on a ceasefire without preconditions. Blinken warned that the ongoing fighting exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia. Thousands of civilians have been killed since the outbreak of war and more than 2.5 million people gave up their homes to flee the violence.

For a year now, troops from the central government and the overthrown regional government have been fighting for power in the northern Ethiopian region. The conflict has since spread to other regions. According to its own information, the TPLF has conquered several places in the Amhara region bordering Tigray in the past few days. A TPLF spokesman said the cities of Kombolcha and Dessie around 350 kilometers north of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa had been captured. However, there was no independent confirmation.

The conflict areas are almost cut off from the outside world, the internet and aid deliveries are blocked by the central government. The TPLF said it was fighting the siege of the region. Prime Minister Abiy’s government denied that the TPLF had conquered the cities.

Conflict since November 2020

The trigger for the violence in the long-running power struggle between the central and regional government was an attack on a military base in early November 2020, for which Abiy blamed the TPLF. Government troops marched into Tigray. After a rapid advance of the armed forces, however, troops from Tigray recaptured many areas in recent months.

The conflict has sparked a humanitarian crisis in which the UN estimates that 400,000 people in Tigray are living in a state of famine. Around 5.2 million people need humanitarian aid to survive. In the Afar and Amhara regions, 1.7 million people do not have enough to eat.

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