Civil War Fears as Ethiopia Starts Military Operation in Opposition-Controlled Region


Ethiopia was thrust into a political crisis earlier this year, with national elections set to be held in August postponed on the pretext of the medical emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Authorities in the northern region of Tigray organised regional elections in September, with the government in Addis Ababa dismissing the results.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has order the military to start an operation in the restive, opposition-controlled region of Tigray to “save the country” in the wake of an alleged attack on government troops early Wednesday morning.

In a televised address, the prime minister described the details of the suspected attack on the government forces in the region, saying it caused “many martyrs, injuries and property damage”, and accusing the attackers of “trying to loot” federal forces’ military assets, including artillery from a local base.

“The government tried to avoid war, but war can’t be avoided by one side,” Abiy said.

A state of emergency has been introduced in Tigray for a period of six months, with the prime minister’s office describing the situation as having reached a critical juncture in which it can no longer be controlled “through regular law enforcement mechanisms” alone.

In the wake of Ahmed’s announcement, Tigray’s local government issued a statement saying that federal military forces’ Northern Command had defected to the…

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