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  • Rovindu Ambagolla

World Politics >>> Situation Worsens in Ethiopia

Picture Source: BBC Website

Ethiopia is a landlocked country located in Africa and has a population of 115 million people. The country is home to an ancient and rich culture which dates back to around the 10th century BCE, and Ethiopia is well known as the oldest independent country in Africa. However, through the past year fighting has broken out in this historic country, and the situation has escalated into a humanitarian disaster.

Full scale fighting has erupted in the country as government forces battle the opposing TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) paramilitary group. A state of emergency has been declared as the fighting escalates further into the south of the country as the paramilitary group secures strategic locations. The fighting has gotten so out of hand that it has displaced millions from their homes and caused famine throughout the country.

The TPLF is a left-wing political party which was the former ruling party of Ethiopia. They had dominated Ethiopian politics for almost 30 years until they were finally ousted from power in 2018 by current Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The fighting started late last year when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for his efforts to end war) launched an offensive against the rebel forces in Northern Tigray which he promised would end in weeks.

Picture Credit: Erik Hathaway

Fighting has been ravaging the country for 12 months now and the Tigrayan rebels have increased in size by conscripting thousands of new volunteers. In May they were even able to force government soldiers to retreat as they entered the regional capital.

The conflict has led to thousands of deaths and both sides accusing each other of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity to gain international support for their side. However, a recent study conducted by the UN and Ethiopia’s state appointed human rights commission found both sides guilty of “violations of international human rights, humanitarian, and refugee law, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity”.

Both sides have committed horrendous atrocities in order to win this war and this has thrown the country into turmoil, with thousands leaving the country to avoid violence. The US has had to interfere by imposing sanctions on the government and its allies (such as Eritrea) which fought alongside Ethiopian troops.

November 4th 2021 | 12:00 PM

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