Truce in Ethiopia’s war with Tigray rebels brought little relief. Now it seems to be falling apart.
For five months, a fragile peace deal has allowed much-needed humanitarian relief to flow into Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region.but a year The war torn apart the north of the country 2021 appears to be back, once again putting millions of lives at risk.
At the end of August, reports of fighting were again reported in the town of Kobo, south of Tigray. Independence rebels in Tigray province and Ethiopian government forces accused each other of firing the first shot. Despite optimism a few weeks ago that talks to create a lasting peace deal were about to begin, regional analysts have warned that tensions in the region are rapidly rising again.
There are even rumors that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Senior officials were sent to meet secretly with the leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the northern region.
Since then, the TPLF’s forces have pushed south again, and heavy clashes have been reported in the past week, with the Ethiopian Air Force hitting Merkel, the capital of the Tigray region, at least twice. Residents claim one of the strikes hit a nursery, killing at least four people, including three children.
Prime Minister Abiy has maintained tight control over the country’s media, with journalists largely unable to access Tigray. Many international journalists are barred from entering Ethiopia or, if they are already there, deported.
In the void, much of the message that keeps it out of the area is propaganda. Last week, a video produced by the TPLF appeared online showing a large number of captured government tanks and soldiers.
TPLF officials have accused the government of launching an offensive from the north, neighboring Eritrea, which is allied with Abiy’s government. There are unconfirmed reports of Eritrean troops massing at the border.
Meanwhile, other reports suggest that TPLF forces have been operating along the border with neighbouring Sudan, where they are taking part in the fight for disputed territory west of Tigray. A security expert told CBS News that there is growing concern that fighting on this new front could draw Sudan into an already complex regional conflict.
A United Nations report last year found that Both sides have ‘atrocities committed’ may constitute a crime against humanity.
The purpose of the humanitarian truce agreed by the TPLF and the Ethiopian government on March 24 was to deliver much-needed humanitarian supplies to Tigray, an area that had been cut off by a government blockade for more than a year. The hope is that the ceasefire will set the stage for a more lasting peace deal.
But Tigrayan officials said the area had remained without electricity and fuel for the past five months, with only a small influx of food and medical supplies, and doctors and nurses in the area had to work for 16 months without pay.
a recent United Nations report Almost every Tigray says — About 5 million people, or 90 percent of the region’s population — need food assistance.
U.S. envoy Mike Hamer visited Tigray on Aug. 2 and called for a “rapid restoration of power, telecommunications, baking and other essential services” and suggested that Abiy had agreed to make it happen.
But the TPLF accused Abiy of violating the ceasefire agreement, failing to lift the blockade, and even threatened to resume the war if the blockade was not lifted.
Ethiopian officials in Abiy’s government have repeatedly said they are open to dialogue “anytime, anywhere” but they will not address the TPLF’s demands. At a news conference last week, TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda said he believed the government had “deceived the international community” into believing it was working towards a peaceful outcome.
The next day, government officials accused the TPLF of launching operations on the Sudanese border.
The war with the TPLF in Tigray is not the only front on which the Abiy government is fighting. Elsewhere in the country, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) continued to clash with government forces.Last year, OLA and TPLF formed a military alliance Fight to within 60 miles of the capital Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia’s farmers are expected to harvest another poor crop week ahead as fighting intensifies again across the country and comes with the threat of exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation for some of the planet’s poorest people.
Last week, the first ship carrying a much-needed humanitarian food cargo from Ukraine docked in neighboring Djibouti. The food is expected to reach Ethiopia within a few days, but not enough to feed those in need.
The ongoing blockade of Tigray, coupled with global food shortage Russia ukraine warwhich means it falls well short of the 4.8 million people in need in northern Ethiopia.
For many already desperate and starving in Tigray, the new violence may look like the last ray of hope.