Ethiopian authorities announced the capture of the capital of the breakaway state of Tigray. According to the Prime Minister of the country, the army has established control over key institutions in the city of Mekele, which has become a hotbed of conflict between the People’s Liberation Front (PPLF) ruling in the region and the federal center.
The Armed Forces of Ethiopia managed on Saturday to establish control over the capital of the state of Tigray, which since the beginning of November has been a full-scale armed conflict between the central authorities and the ruling party in the region, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray.
The Ethiopian army took control of the airport, public institutions, the state administration building, and other important institutions.
As the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed assures, the operation was carried out without exposing the civilians of the half-million city of Mekele to the blows.
For their part, the Tigray state authorities claim that the military operated in the city center with the help of heavy weapons and artillery.
The conflict in the state of Tigray, inhabited mainly by the Christians of the Semitic people of the Tigers, arose between the ruling NPLT in the region. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed reorganized the ruling coalition into a single party, which the People’s Liberation Front refused to join. The leaders of the NPLT accused the head of the Ethiopian government of trying to oust them from power, violating peace, democracy, and the rule of law, establishing a dictatorship, destruction, and disintegration. In turn, Prime Minister Ahmed reproaches the state authorities for corruption and sabotaging reforms, arguing that they have turned the region into a safe haven for fugitives from justice.
The reason for the escalation of the conflict into a more decisive phase was in September the decision of the state authorities to ignore the opinion of Addis Ababa and to hold elections to the regional parliament canceled by the federal center due to the pandemic.
In early November, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accused the separatists of attacking the military, the Ethiopian parliament declared NPLT a “terrorist organization”, and the prosecutor’s office issued arrest warrants for the Popular Front leadership, led by leader Debrezion Geberemikl. And on November 4, hostilities broke out between Ethiopian security forces and the NFOT fighters.
The other day, the central authorities issued an ultimatum, giving the rebels 72 hours to surrender. After this demand was not met, on the night of November 26, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered to complete “the third and final phase of the operation to restore order,” the BBC reported.
The capture of the capital of Tygrai does not mean, apparently, the end of the military conflict, which could escalate into a partisan war. Moreover, the People’s Front for the Liberation of Tygrai has combat experience accumulated over the past decades. The NFOT under the banner of Marxism-Leninism fought against the Marxist central regime in Addis Ababa for independence, and after the overthrow of power, Mengistu Haile Mariama became part of the Ethiopian government.
According to the UN, since the beginning of the month, due to the armed conflict in the state of Tigray, more than 43 thousand people have fled to Sudan.
Ironically, less than a year has passed since the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Ethiopian Prime Minister in Oslo. Abiy Ahmed was honored with this award for his efforts to resolve the border conflict between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea.
Meanwhile, according to the US State Department, on Saturday in the Eritrean capital of Asmara, six explosions thundered. There is reason to believe that this incident may be related to the armed conflict in neighboring Ethiopia. As Sky News recalls, Tigray forces fighting Ethiopian soldiers previously fired missiles at Eritrea.