After a military offensive by the Ethiopian government against the ruling party in the Tigray region, the dispute has reached another level of escalation. The parliament in Addis Ababa has taken a position.
The power struggle in Ethiopia between the federal and regional governments of the Tigray region is intensifying. As the state television broadcaster Fana BC reports, the parliament in Addis Ababa allowed the federal government to dissolve and replace the regional government. The government launched airstrikes on Tigray on Friday after fierce fighting in the region had taken place in recent days.
The military confrontation was triggered by the alleged attack by the paramilitary People’s Liberation Front of Tigray (TPLF) on a military base on Wednesday. The attack exacerbated the tensions that had existed for months between the federal government in Addis Ababa and the regional government in Tigray.
The regional government held elections in September, although parliament in Addis Ababa extended all terms of office and postponed all elections in the country due to the corona pandemic. The regional government declared that it would no longer recognize the federal government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Abiy Ahmed announced on Friday that the air strikes and offensives in Tigray had destroyed the TPLF’s infrastructure and weapons, among other things. Like the regional government, the TPLF is demanding more autonomy from the government in Addis Ababa.
The Ethiopian government had been trying for several months to peacefully resolve the differences between the TPLF leadership, Abiy Ahmed tweeted. But this failed. The President of the Tigray region, Debretsion Gebremichael, spoke on Thursday of “enemies who are waging war against the Tigray region” and said the attacks would “be repelled and this war won”.
Peace with the neighbors, tensions in one’s own country
Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic state and was ruled for decades by Meles Zenawi, who comes from the Tigray region. The TPLF was the dominant party in his coalition, which enforced its power in the East African country with a hard hand.
This changed when Abiy Ahmed took over the government in 2018: he initiated reforms, removed functionaries of the old guard and founded a new party, which the TPLF, previously represented in the party coalition, did not join. The TPLF and many people in Tigray do not feel represented by the central government and would like greater autonomy.
Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 because of the peace agreement he signed with neighboring Eritrea. Under his leadership, ethnic tensions and conflicts in Ethiopia, with a population of around 112 million, have increased.