Fear of Refugees Heading to Europe as Ethiopia Prosecutes War Against ‘Criminal Junta’ in Tigray

Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has sent troops and air force jets into the rebellious Tigray region. Abiy, who ironically won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, has drafted in ethnic Amhara militiamen to fight the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The African Union has called for an immediate halt to the conflict in northern Ethiopia, where the army is clashing with forces from the Tigrayan regional government.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union Commission, said in a statement on Tuesday, 10 November: “The chairperson appeals for the immediate cessation of hostilities and calls on parties to respect human rights and ensure the protection of civilians.”

​Abiy Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for reaching a deal with neighbouring Eritrea over the Badme triangle border dispute, has described the TPLF-controlled regional government in the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle, as a “criminal junta.”

Negasi Tesfaye, a political observer in Addis Ababa, said he feared the conflict could increase the number of refugees heading from Ethiopia and Eritrea north, through Sudan and Libya, into Europe.

He said: “Tigray’s economy had been thrown into disarray with the siege. Fuel supply is short, communications cut off, food is in limited supply and prices are skyrocketing. Add to that the COVID pandemic and the locust swarms and it’s a catastrophe.”

​Mr Tesfaye said: “Tigray is already a food insecure region and this war…

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