Ethiopia civil war

This item appears on page 5 of the December 2021 issue.

Ethiopian and allied troops began an offensive into the Tigray region of Ethiopia in early October, attacking Tigrayan rebel positions in an ongoing civil war and causing what a Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) spokesperson described as “staggering casualties.”

The conflict began Nov. 3, 2020, when the TPLF, a political-military group that was very powerful during Ethiopia’s single-party government system, attacked Ethiopian National Defense Force bases in Tigray. The party had accused Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of being an illegitimate ruler for postponing general elections because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After initially being pushed back, the TPLF and allies had a series of victories in July 2020, taking control of land in the Amhara and Afar regions. Neighboring country Eritrea has sent troops into Tigray in support of Ethiopia. During the conflict, thousands of civilians have been killed and millions displaced. Both sides have been accused of war crimes.

As part of its conflict against the TPLF, Ethiopia has been accused of not allowing food and medical aid to reach Tigray. According to the World Health Organization, 90% of the population of Tigray is in need of aid, with more than 400,000 people living under famine conditions.