breaking point

Ethiopia: PM Abiy orders military attack against the TPLF

By Anne-Marie Bissada

Posted on November 4, 2020 08:23

Ethiopia’s PM Ahmed
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia December 7, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced this morning that the National Defense Forces (ENDF), was given an order to start a military offensive against the Tigray’s People Liberation Front (TPLF) in the Tigray regional state in the north-east of the country.

The PM claimed the offensive comes after the TPLF “took measures” and tried to “rob the Northern Command of artillery and military equipment”.

The Northern Command is based in the town of Mekele, capital city of the Tigray region.

The government tried to avoid war, but war can’t be avoided by one side,” Abiy added.

It raises fears that the second most populous country in Africa will be plunged into divisive ethnic conflict.

READ MORE Abiy Ahmed and the struggle to keep Ethiopia together

The PM says the initial TPLF attack targeted Mekele and the town of Dansha in western Tigray, according to reports from AFP.

The attack on Dansha was repelled by security forces from neigbhouring Amhara region, added Abiy.

Inevitable clashes

Tensions between the TPLF and the government in Addis Ababa have been escalating following regional elections held in Tigray despite a postponement announced of all elections due to the coronavirus pandemic, including general ones initially meant to be held in August.

They have since been postponed to no later than October of 2021.

Things came to a breaking point last month when parliament voted to break off ties with the political administration in Tigray.

According to a statement from the office of the Prime Minister,  the Federal Government has been subjected “continued provocation and incitement for violence by TPLF” over the past months.