Ethiopian crisis: A civil war waiting to happen

Ethiopian crisis: A civil war waiting to happen

Bombing in the northern region of Tigray has resulted in aid agencies calling on world leaders to intervene as the week-long conflict in Ethiopia intensifies.

Prime minister Abiy Ahmed has ordered air strikes on various military targets, which began on Wednesday and have continued since, leaving the country on the brink of civil war.

The military offensive began on Wednesday and little has been said so far from government officials. However, speaking on Ethiopian television, Mr. Abiy said: “Airstrikes have happened on Thursday and Friday and would continue. These airstrikes aren’t aimed at civilians but rather at targets stored by this dangerous group”.

The group to which he refers is known as the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF). Officials of the TPLF deny any such strikes took place. Following these events, federal troops have moved towards the border of Tigray, which is currently controlled by the TPLF. A major escalation resulted in the death of 6 people and injured a further 60 in a single clash on the border.

There are fears amongst analysts that this may turn into long civil war, with both sides having access to a large array of ammunition and heavy weaponry. Amid all this conflict, there has also been unrest with the nation’s government itself, with Abiy replacing his Army Chief on Sunday and appointing deputy chief Bernhanu Jula, who’s a strong supporter of the current Tigray operation. The change was part of a reshuffle aimed to move those who support the current leaders’ actions in the on-going conflict closer to his inner circle.

With all this tension and turmoil, it remains likely that this conflict could seriously escalate into a full-scale war in Africa’s second most populated country. With most of the world leaders focusing on their domestic issues regarding the Coronavirus pandemic, the Ethiopian people may be left largely on their own to deal with this crisis.

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