Civil conflict in Ethiopia: PM launches airstrikes in Tigray region
Civil conflict is looming in Ethiopia with escalating situation as the country’s air force carried out airstrikes in the agitated Tigray region. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed informed of the airstrikes, which is being seen as further escalation of crisis in Ethiopia that can further push the country towards a civil conflict of bitter and violent nature.
The airstrikes were carried out targeting the regional government in Tigray region which is currently restive and agitated. PM Ahmed said that the “first round of operation” has successfully destroyed rockets and other heavy weaponry of the regional government which could have enabled a retaliatory attack from it. No information on any casualties has yet been released. PM said that the attack destroyed weapons in Tigray’s capital, Mekele and nearby areas belonging to the regional government, Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Abiy further said that the operation would continue in northernmost part of Ethiopia “until the junta is made accountable by law.” The law enforcement operation, as said by Abiy, has “clear, limited and achievable objectives: to restore the rule of law and the constitutional order.”
Before Abiy took the office as Prime Minister in 2018, the Ethiopian government was dominated largely by TPLF. But since Abiy came to power, the latter’s control waned away. Wednesday’s attacks on Tigray were launched after Abiy accused TPLF of attacking military camp and loot the assets in the region. TPLF however denies the allegations and in turn has accused Abiy of provoking the military action through false story.
Abiy Ahmed, last year’s winner of Noble Peace prize said, “The proud Ethiopian people of Tigray and other citizens cannot be taken hostage by fugitives from justice forever. We shall extract these criminal elements from Tigray and relaunch our country on a path to sustainable prosperity for all.” In response to the attacks, Debretsion Gebremichael, Tigray’s President and chair of TPLF said, “What has been initiated against us is clearly a war, an invasion. This is a war we’re conducting to preserve our existence.”
The growing conflicts in Tigray region has attracted concern and condemn from UN, US and EU. UN’s Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, “The stability of Ethiopia is important for the entire Horn of Africa region. I call for an immediate de-escalation of tensions and a peaceful resolution to the dispute.”
Tigray region makes up 5% of Ethiopian population of 109 million, but the region is much influential and wealthier as compared to other bigger regions. Tigrayan leaders have accused Abiy of increasing the problems in region and targeting the regional structure. Fears are now looming that conflicts in Tigray may inspire other regions of Ethiopia to project similar sentiments.