Violent Clashes in Ethiopia Continue

Robert Hancock, Staff Reporter

The Ethiopian federal government has recently been in armed conflict with the Tigray region’s regional government headed by the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front.

The Tigray Peoples Liberation Front feels their political influence is threatened by Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, which they formerly dominated. They do not like recent attempts to centralize power in the federal government.

The tensions escalated as regional and parliamentary elections were postponed due to COVID-19, which Tigray lawmakers claimed was unconstitutional, so they decided to hold regional elections anyway. The Ethiopian parliament voted to not recognize the election and cut federal funding of the Tigray regional government.

The violence stems from an attack on Northern Command which the federal government claims was an attack by Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, but which the Tigray regional government claims was a defection by army units to its side. This has lead to the Ethiopia launching a offensive in to the Tigray region to remove the regional government leadership.

Ethiopian troops have captured Mekelle the capital of the Tigray region, while the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front has claimed that they have captured some Eritrean soldier who they claimed were 30 miles from Mekelle.

The Eritrean government has denied involvement in the conflict while the Tigray forces have shelled Eritrea’s Asmara airport.

With the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front  leader Debretsion Gebremichael’s defiance, and the group’s history with a long drawn-out guerrilla war (which helped to topple Ethiopia’s Marxist dictatorship in 1991) the odds of the war being a long dragged-out conflict is quite possible.