Ethiopia close to civil war

A civil war is exploding in Ethiopia, the economic giant of north east Africa.

It’s a fight between the central government in Addis Ababa, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, against the northern region of Tigray.

Tigray, a stronghold of the military and the country’s former ruling group, has fired rockets at airports in the neighbouring state of Amhara.

The BBC reports that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has warned of further strikes. 

Earlier this week the TPLF was accused of carrying out mass killings, with human rights group Amnesty International saying “scores, and likely hundreds, of people were stabbed or hacked to death”. It is alleged the victims were labourers. The TPLF has denied the claims.

The 44-year-old Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been in office since 2018. 

He started out dazzling the world as a young reformer, ending the long border war with Eritrea and promising reforms in one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

Ethiopia has a socially diverse make up, with big differences and tensions between the vast regions. Tigray, one of the smaller regions, dominated recent Ethiopian governments. The former TPLF government had an often brutal control over the other much bigger regions of Amhara and Oromia, where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is from.

So it’s now a huge turnaround – central government versus Tigray.

The Tigrayans have also threatened strikes on Eritrea, which would destabilise the entire region.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, says 17,000 people have already fled to neighbouring Sudan, and filed the video above.

Photo: @AbiyAhmedAli

Video: @UNHCRinSudan