Ethiopia’s prime minister stepped up a military offensive in the northern region of Tigray on Sunday with air strikes as part of what he called a “lawenforcement operation,” increasing fears of outright civil warin Africa’s second-most populous country.
For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has defied calls from the United Nations and allies in the region to negotiate with leaders in Tigray, home of the ethnic group that dominated the federal government before he took power in 2018.
Abiy last week launched a military campaign in the province, saying forces loyal to leaders there had attacked a military base and attempted to steal equipment.
Ethiopia PM Abiy resists diplomatic pressure to halt offensive, as dozens are injured
UN chief ‘deeply alarmed’ by fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray
Ethiopia’s Tigray people risk displacement amid escalating conflict, UN says
Abiy accuses the leaders of Tigray of undermining his democratic reforms.
Government fighter jets have since been bombing targets in the region, which borders Sudan and Eritrea. Aid workers on Sunday reported heavy fighting in several parts of the region, with at least six dead and dozens wounded.
Also on Sunday, Abiy named a new chief of the army, a new intelligence chief and a new federal police commissioner and foreign minister, changes that analysts said brought close allies into top posts as the conflict escalates.
The premier won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize for making peace with neighboring Eritrea and for introducing democratic reforms in one of Africa’s most repressive countries.
But the democratic transition he promised is endangered by the Tigray conflict, the International Crisis Group think-tank warned last week.
In a televised address on Sunday, Abiy urged the international community “to understand the context and the consistent transgressions” by the Tigrayan leaders which led the government to undertake “this law enforcement operation”.
Tigrayans complain that Abiy, who is from the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest, has unfairly targeted them as part of a crackdown on past rights abuses and corruption.
Forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which governs the region, are battle-hardened and possess significant stocks of military hardware, experts say.
They and militia allies number up to 250,000 men, according to the International Crisis Group.
One of the biggest risks is that Ethiopia’s army will split along ethnic lines, with Tigrayans defecting to the regional force. There are signs that is already happening, analysts said.
The United Nations raised concerns of reprisals against ethnic Tigrayans amid heightened tension in the diverse country in a confidential report dated Sunday and seen by Reuters.
Addis Ababa Police Commissioner Getu Aregaw said on Sunday that the government had arrested 162 people in possession of firearms and ammunition, on suspicion of supporting the Tigrayan forces.
The suspects were “under investigation”, he said in a statement. He did not identify their ethnicity.
The mayor of the capital, Adanech Abiebie, said on Saturday several TPLF members working in her administration had been arrested on suspicion of planning to disrupt the peace.
As Abiy’s government mobilizes troops to send to Tigray, other parts of the country roiled by ethnic violence could face a security vacuum, analysts say.
Ethiopia’s PM fires senior officials amid state of emergencyEthiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sacked his army chief, head of intelligence ... World News
Ethiopia’s Tigray people risk displacement amid escalating conflict, UN saysNine million people risk displacement from the escalating conflict in Ethiopia’s ... World News
Ethiopia PM says airstrikes in Tigray region will continueEthiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed vowed further air strikes after jets bombed ... World News
Military operations in Ethiopia’s Tigray have ‘clear, limited’ objectives: PMEthiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Friday that military operations launched ... World News
Explainer: What happened for Ethiopia to be on the verge of civil war?Suddenly Ethiopia appears on the brink of civil war, threatening the stability of ... Features
UN chief ‘deeply alarmed’ by fighting in Ethiopia’s TigrayThe head of the United Nations said he was deeply alarmed by fighting in ... World News
Ethiopia says forced into 'aimless war' as bombings alleged with Tigray regionEthiopia’s army said Thursday the country has been forced into an “unexpected and ... Africa
Ethiopia PM Abiy resists diplomatic pressure to halt offensive, as dozens are injuredEthiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed showed no sign on Thursday of halting a ... World News
US calls for end to conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray: PompeoThe United States on Wednesday urged an immediate end to hostilities in Ethiopia’s ... World News
Ethiopia sends army into opposition Tigray regionReports
Ethiopia’s government declares state of emergency in opposition Tigray regionEthiopia’s government has declared a state of emergency in the opposition Tigray ... World News
Ethiopia's PM Abiy orders military to confront Tigray region after 'red line' crossedEthiopia’s prime minister has ordered the military to confront a regional ... World News