Ethiopia/Tigray

More places in North Africa going pear-shaped fast due to inter-ethnic strife, doubtless leading to more population displacement and refugees turning up at the Med.

'An escalating conflict in Ethiopia’s restive Tigray region has killed hundreds of people, sources on the government’s side said, even as the prime minister sought on Monday to reassure the world his nation was not sliding into civil war.

'The flare-up in the northern area bordering Eritrea and Sudan threatens to destabilize Africa’s second most populous nation where ethnic conflict has already killed hundreds since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took over in 2018.

'Reuters reporters travelling in Tigray and the neighboring Amhara region saw trucks packed with armed militia and pickups with machine-guns mounted on the back rushing to the front line in support of the federal government push.

'Tigrayans account for just 5 percent of Ethiopians but had, before Abiy’s rule, dominated politics since militants from their ethnic group toppled Marxist military rule in 1991.

'They say Abiy’s government has unfairly targeted them as part of a crackdown on past rights abuses and corruption.

“These fascists have demonstrated they will show no mercy in destroying Tigrayans by launching more than 10 airstrike attempts in Tigrayan cities,” the TPLF said via Facebook.'


 
Shades of Rwanda or the Balkans.

'Amnesty International can today confirm that scores, and likely hundreds, of people were stabbed or hacked to death in Mai-Kadra (May Cadera) town in the South West Zone of Ethiopia’s Tigray Region on the night of 9 November.

'The organization’s Crisis Evidence Lab has examined and digitally verified gruesome photographs and videos of bodies strewn across the town or being carried away on stretchers. It confirmed the images were recent and using satellite imagery, geolocated them to Mai-Kadra in western Tigray state (14.071008, 36.564681).

“We have confirmed the massacre of a very large number of civilians, who appear to have been day labourers in no way involved in the ongoing military offensive. This is a horrific tragedy whose true extent only time will tell as communication in Tigray remains shut down,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.'


 

Grownup_Rafbrat

LE
Book Reviewer
Universal I'm afraid. Problem is, the BLM agenda is a bit one eyed.
 
Looks like the conflict is spreading.

'Two rockets have hit Ethiopia's Amhara state, amid fierce fighting in the neighbouring region of Tigray, the government says.

'The explosions occurred in Bahir Dar and Gondar late on Friday, according to Amhara's communication office and state news.

'One of the rockets hit the airport in Gondar and left it partially damaged, according to a spokesperson for Gondar central zone, while a second one fired simultaneously is understood to have landed just outside of the airport at Bahir Dar.

'Investigations are now underway to establish whether they are linked to fighting in Tigray. It is not known if there are any casualties.

'Amhara regional state forces have been fighting alongside federal government forces.'


 
To say anything is likely to invite criticism of colonialist interfering attitudes. Haven't Lammy and Henry been tub thumping about how help for Africa coming from Europeans is patronising, culturally insulting and not wanted?

Well let them get on with sorting this and any other mess out then, and I don't want to see the coming with the begging bowl any time soon. If they want to burn their bridges then fine, they can manage things by themselves from now on.
 
And may spread even further if this proves correct.

'Although Tigray is small, it is well armed, and its forces are battle-hardened. Tigray’s regional special forces, which a senior Ethiopian diplomat estimates have grown to at least 20,000 commandos—led by senior Tigrayan officers forced into retirement by Abiy, plus a standing body of reserve special forces made up of military-trained militia and armed farmers—together have an estimated total of up to 250,000 armed fighters. Until recently, however, it lacked the heavy weaponry required to directly confront a fully-equipped division.

'Since last week, the TPLF has taken control of half the soldiers from the five divisions of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) Northern Command that remain in Tigray—meaning it has gained 15,000 soldiers, according to three sources: a senior Ethiopian diplomat briefed on the latest developments, a senior retired intelligence officer in Tigray who continues to work for the TPLF, and a source in Tigray monitoring the situation. But the seizure of Ethiopian military hardware and equipment has heightened the importance of logistical supplies for the TPLF, which will inevitably depend on Sudan’s stance.

'Sudan has a number of strategic reasons to back—or at least to be perceived as supporting—the TPLF in the civil war against Ethiopia’s government.'


 
And wider again, now crossing international, rather than provincial, borders.

'The leader of the Tigray region of Ethiopia has claimed responsibility for rocket strikes on the airport in neighbouring Eritrea’s capital, Asmara, in a move that ratcheted up fears of a wider conflict in the Horn of Africa.

'Multiple rockets struck on Saturday night the capital, diplomats said, though communication restrictions in Tigray and Eritrea made the reports difficult to verify.

'Earlier this month, the Ethiopian prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, ordered military operations in Tigray in a dramatic escalation of a long-running feud with the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

“Ethiopian forces are also using the airport of Asmara,” said TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael, adding this made the airport a “legitimate target” for the strikes.

'He said his forces had also been fighting “16 divisions” of Eritrean forces in recent days “in several fronts”.

'The TPLF has previously accused Abiy’s government of enlisting military support from Eritrea, something Ethiopia denies. There has been no immediate response from the Eritrean or Ethiopian governments.'


 
Sounds like it could really be 'going south' with inevitable knock-on effects on regional stability, and refugee flows.

'Alarm spiraled Tuesday over Ethiopia’s imminent tank attack on the capital of the defiant Tigray region and its population of half a million people, while the U.N. Security Council met for the first time on the three-week-old conflict amid warnings that food in the region is running out.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s 72-hour ultimatum for the region’s leaders to surrender ends on Wednesday. His military has warned civilians of “no mercy” if they don’t move away in time – which some rights groups and diplomats say could violate international law. “The highly aggressive rhetoric on both sides regarding the fight for Mekele is dangerously provocative and risks placing already vulnerable and frightened civilians in grave danger,” United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said. The allegation that Tigray leaders were hiding among civilians “does not then give the Ethiopians state carte blanche to respond with the use of artillery in densely populated areas.”


With Ethiopia on brink of escalation, diplomacy in doubt
 
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End-game, or the start of another insurgency in Africa?

'Ethiopia’s military has gained full control of the capital of the defiant Tigray region, the army announced Saturday after Tigray TV reported that the city of a half-million people was being “heavily bombarded” in the final push to arrest the region’s leaders.

'The army chief of staff, Gen. Birhanu Jula, made the comment about the military’s control of Mekele while speaking on an Ethiopian state broadcast. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a separate statement, “We have entered Mekele without innocent civilians being targets.”

'Neither mentioned the arrest of any of the leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which runs the region. The Tigray leader could not be reached.'


 
No surprises there then!

'Rockets launched from Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region again hit the capital of Eritrea, diplomats said on Sunday, as the US embassy in Asmara reported “six explosions” in the city.

'The blasts – which the embassy said occurred about 10pm Saturday night (19:00 GMT) – came hours after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared victory in his military campaign against Tigray’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

'The attack marked the third time Asmara has come under fire from Tigray since military operations began there on November 4.

'The TPLF justified that attack by accusing Ethiopia of enlisting Eritrean military support for its campaign in Tigray, which Ethiopia denies.

'Two Addis Ababa-based diplomats told the AFP news agency that multiple rockets fired Saturday night appeared to have hit Asmara’s airport and military installations, though as with previous attacks it was unclear where they landed and what damage they might have caused.'


 
All is well and the government is in control: well, maybe not.

'Clashes continued across Ethiopia's Tigray region and humanitarian aid remained paused at its border Friday, despite government claims that military operations had ceased and pledges to allow U.N. agencies access to hundreds of thousands of people who rely on them for food.

'The conflict exploded a month ago between Ethiopia’s new leader, Abiy Ahmed, a young and reform-minded ex-soldier who won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, and the country’s old ruling faction: the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, a powerful regional political party that dominated Ethiopian affairs for 27 years until Abiy’s rise. Abiy had begun to dismantle the TPLF’s grip on state institutions, deepening their political rivalry. It spilled into warfare over control of vast amounts of federal military equipment stationed in Tigray, and the TPLF’s decision to go ahead with regional elections despite a government ban amid the pandemic. Abiy has so far rejected international attempts to mediate.

'Diplomats, aid workers and analysts said in interviews that the war in Tigray, Ethiopia’s northernmost region, was far from over even with government troops in effective control of the region’s main city, Mekele. The fighting has shifted to Tigray’s many craggy mountain ranges — difficult terrain where TPLF leaders and militia hold the advantage of familiarity and have been able to regroup. “We have reports of fighting still going on in many parts of Tigray,” said Saviano Abreu, spokesman for the United Nations’ humanitarian coordination office, adding that security concerns were preventing aid missions from crossing into the region. “We have not, indeed, been able to send personnel or relief items to Tigray [yet].”

'The TPLF’s leadership remains largely intact despite abandoning Mekele last week. On Thursday, in a message aired on a regional television network, one prominent leader called on supporters to “rise and deploy to battle in tens of thousands.” TPLF officials did not respond to requests for comment and have kept their whereabouts secret. The fighting has prevented a full assessment of what is almost certainly a dire humanitarian crisis.'


https://www.washingtonpost.com/worl...b1b95e-35a8-11eb-9699-00d311f13d2d_story.html
 
It's only going to get uglier. It seems that the Ethiopian government might have been taking CI lessons from the Sri Lankans and their treatment of Tamils.

'Ethiopian troops shot at and detained UN staff after they drove through check-points in the conflict-hit northern Tigray region, government spokesman Redwan Hussein has confirmed. The UN team ignored instructions not to be in the area, he added.

'Government forces have been battling the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in the region since 4 November. The UN team was reportedly trying to visit a camp for Eritrean refugees on Sunday when the shooting occurred.'


 
... and/or the Rwandans.

'The only thing the survivors can agree on is that hundreds of people were slaughtered in a single Ethiopian town.

'Witnesses say security forces and their allies attacked civilians in Mai-Kadra with machetes and knives or strangled them with ropes. The stench of bodies lingered for days during the early chaos of the Ethiopian government’s offensive in the defiant Tigray region last month. Several mass graves have been reported.

'What happened beginning Nov. 9 in the agricultural town near the Sudanese border has become the most visible atrocity in a war largely conducted in the shadows. But even here, much remains unclear, including who killed whom.'


 
This will be our next major deployment area guaranteed. I give it 12-16 months. Something will happen with the 300 troop deployment that’s gone in recently, they’ll get up scaled, then it’ll turn into a 10 year ball of shit. Standing by
 
This will be our next major deployment area guaranteed. I give it 12-16 months. Something will happen with the 300 troop deployment that’s gone in recently, they’ll get up scaled, then it’ll turn into a 10 year ball of shit. Standing by
No, it sounds like a job for the 'Organisation for African Unity,' Africans solving African problems. The UK or the west getting involved is just a case of neo-colonialism and the 'white saviour' complex that David Lammy so ably warned us about.
 
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