Updated: Dec 14, 2020
On November 4, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced an offensive military move against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) after the group reportedly attacked a military base. This conflict erupted as a result of mounting political tensions between TPLF and Abiy’s government.
Since November 4, communications with Tigray have been cut off. Phone lines and traffic both into and out of the region have been blocked. This has made coordinating humanitarian efforts to aid civilians and verifying media re
Passengers line up to get on buses in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to flee the fighting on Friday on Nov. 6, 2020.
On November 28, the Ethiopian army claimed that it had “full control” of Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region. The Prime Minister said this marked the end of the offense he mounted at the beginning of the month. His next move, he said, will be to pursue and arrest the leaders of the TPLF. Debretsion Gebremichael, the TPLF leader, could not be reached for more information.
Tigray’s regional government said that in the Ethiopian army’s final push, Mekelle was “heavily bombarded.” As a densely populated city that is home to nearly half a million people, there has been a great concern for civilian casualties. While the number of people killed in the conflict is unknown, Zadig Abraha, the minister in charge of democratization, asserted that they “have kept the civilian casualty very low.”
The conflict in Tigray has turned into a humanitarian crisis. Nearly one million people have been displaced, with tens of thousands seeking refuge in the neighboring nation of Sudan. Since November 10, 4,000 Ethiopian refugees have been crossing the border into Sudan each day, overwhelming the humanitarian response capacity. Within Tigray itself, humanitarian responses are being disrupted by a lack of electricity, telecommunications, fuel, and cash. The spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees stated, “the lack of access to those in need, coupled with the inability to move in goods to the region, remain major impediments to providing assistance.”