Ethiopia declares state of emergency in opposition-ruled Tigray

Move follows PM Abiy Ahmed ordering a military response to a deadly attack by Tigray’s ruling party on a federal army camp.

Ethiopia’s government has declared a state of emergency in the northern Tigray region after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accused the opposition-led local government of attacking federal troops and trying to “loot” military assets.

A statement issued by Abiy’s office on Wednesday said the Federal Council of Ministers made the declaration “recognising that illegal and violent activities within the National Regional State of Tigray are endangering the constitution and constitutional order”.

“Our defence forces … have been ordered to carry out their mission to save the country. The final point of the red line has been crossed. Force is being used as the last measure to save the people and the country,” Abiy said in a social media post.

Military operations in the region have commenced, Abiy’s spokeswoman Billene Seyoum told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday, without giving further details.

In September, Tigray held regional elections in defiance of the federal government, which called the vote “illegal”. The row has escalated in recent days with both sides accusing each other of plotting a military conflict.

Tigray’s local government said the Northern Command of the federal military, which is stationed in the region, had defected to its side. Billene dismissed the claim as a “false information”.

Internet access monitor NetBlocks said the internet had been shut down in the tense region, confirming reports that authorities had shut down communication services.

Speaking from Addis Ababa, William Davison, senior Ethiopia analyst at the International Crisis Group (ICG) explained how tensions between the Tigray and federal  governments have grown since September.

“This [the latest development] is the culmination of the political dispute that emanated from the prime minister coming to power in 2018… and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)’s loss of power during the transition, said Davison.

“That resulted in very toxic politics… and then the creation of a national party which put the Tigray out of power at the federal level,” Davison told Al Jazeera.

“When the election was delayed this year due to COVID-19, the TPLF went ahead with their election, resulting in a very stark constitutional dispute with the federal government and the Tigray government accusing each other of being unconstitutional,” he added.

Tigrayans had ruled Ethiopian politics since armed fighters removed a Marxist dictator in 1991, but their influence has waned under Abiy. Last year, the TPLF quit his ruling coalition.

Since Abiy came to power in 2018, many senior Tigrayan officials have been detained, fired or sidelined in what the federal government describes as a crackdown on corruption.

But Tigrayans say the moves are intended to suppress dissent.

Tigray’s population makes up six percent of Ethiopia’s 109 million people.


2 thoughts on “Ethiopia declares state of emergency in opposition-ruled Tigray

  1. No battle was fought between TPLF and PP . It is just a made up story fake news fabricated by PP to distract Amaras from demanding explanation about why the ongoing genocide is being perpetrated against Amaras with Abiy failing to secure Amaras intentionally . All that happened recently in Tigray was foolish soldiers of the Ethiopian defence forces tresspassed and were captured right away while they were trying to steal drones and helicopters from the an airbase in Tigray , so far it is not clear if Abiy ordered them to steal the drones and helicopters or if the individuals did try to steal on their own accord ..

    Both Abiy Ahmed and Isayas know that TPLF got the strength and the ability to fight not only the Ethiopian defence forces but also the Eritrean defence forces defeating both Abiy and Isayas at the same time.

    TPLF defeated borh Derg and Shabiya without having a strong military as TPLF does have now. The TPLF leaders fighting skills is no match for Abiy and Isayas so Amaras should not get fooled by the psychopath Abiy, he will send the mostly Amara soldiers of his to the line of fire where they are not expected to survive.Tegaru will not fail from defending Tigray no matter what.

  2. Such report is totally your opunion. The truth is TPLF is an agent of terror and corruption for the last 46 years. TPLF was a terrorist organization since its inceptions. USA rep. Herman Cohen, gave them the right to become official Ethiopian government by replacing DERG military Government. TPLF for the last 30 years involvements part of global corruption scheme. Money laundering, human trafficking, Illegal armed sales and genocides. TPLF must go, that is the only safety for Tigray, Eritrean and the rest of Ethiopian people.

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