Tigray War in Ethiopia Resumes After Ceasefire Violated

Dr. E.C. Beuck

A man passes by a destroyed tank on the main street of Edaga Hamus, in the Tigray region, in Ethiopia, on June 5, 2021. (Yan Boechat/VOA)Yan Boechat/VOA

Following a breakout in fighting along the Tigray region border in Ethiopia a little more than a week ago, the five-month ceasefire between the central government and rebels has ended. According to the Ethiopian government and the local population, fighting took place around the town of Kobo, located in the north of Ethiopia. Since then, the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) forces have again started advancing south, which have led to armed clashes and a reported minimum of two new strikes by the Ethiopian Air Force on Mekele, the capital of the Tigray region. Both sides have accused the other as having violated the ceasefire first.

While reports continue to come from the country, Prime Minister Abiy has clamped down on media in the country to control the flow of information about the conflict. To a large degree journalists are not able to visit the Tigray region, and many international journalists have been barred from entering the country, or thrown out if they were previously there.

The Tigray War initially broke out in the Tigray region of Ethiopia on November 3, 2020 following months of significant tensions between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the regional leaders who resisted his authority. Apart from the violence and death, a humanitarian crisis occurred in which the civilian population in the region suffered greatly. With the return of the conflict, millions are again at risk. Worse for the region, the TPLF has accused the Ethiopian government of launching an offensive from the neighboring country of Eritrea, which has aligned itself with Prime Minister Abiy, and there are unconfirmed reports that Eritrea has massed its forces along the border, potentially signaling it might get directly involved in the conflict. In addition, other sources have said that the TPLF has been fighting along the western border, which is shared with Sudan, raising concerns that another country might be drawn into the conflict as well.

With so much attention turned to the Ukraine War in Europe, and the actions of Russia regarding its efforts to both continue the conflict and pressure the European Union to remove the sanctions it has imposed, the result is relatively less awareness of the conflict in Tigray. This is despite credibly reports of crimes against humanity committed by both sides, a humanitarian crisis wherein roughly five million people need food aid as a result of Ethiopia's blockade, and the death of between 300,000 and 500,000 so far as a result. Even with a shipment of grain from Ukraine arriving soon in the country, the looming crisis ahead looks to be getting worse rather than better.

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Holding a PhD in Political Science, I write about current events and on political topics related to international relations, international law, conflict both between and within states, and the interactions between technology and politics.

Washington, DC

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