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Ethiopia’s civil war threatens regional peace and stability.

The current Ethiopian crises is an armed dispute that commenced in November 2020 between the Ethiopian Government and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The dispute arises when the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tried to consolidate the ethnic and region-based parties of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front which is having a 30 years old governing history in Ethiopia into a Pan-Ethiopian Prosperity Party. This is an attempt to unify and separate country’s polity from ethnic federalism, a power sharing system prioritising regional and ethnic interests.

However the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front a strong political and military body representing six percent of Ethiopian population are not willing to join the new party claiming that the Prime Minister Ahmed is an unlawful ruler by postponing the general elections supposed to take place in August 2020 to an undefined date in 2021 considering Coronavirus crisis.  

The situation intensified violently when TPLF attacked the Northern Command Headquarters of the Ethiopian National Defence Force. Moreover, the attack disturbed the regional peace as it is reported that some of the rockets breach the territorial integrity of neighbouring Eritrea and Amhara region. This uncontrolled escalation would further destabilise the Horn of Africa.

The Ethiopian forces asserts to hold control of Tigrayan capital Mekelle and Prime Minister Abiy asserts the Tigray operation ‘finished’. However, the TPLF alleged to fight consistently until they reclaim the region and threatened the government and regional countries of further attacks

Furthermore, the Ethiopian constitution legitimises the Tigray struggle as article 39.1 states that ‘’Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has an unconditional right to self-determination, including the right to secession’’.

The regional consequences could be seen as United Arab Emirates stationed its drones in Eritrea to provide air support to Ethiopian army. Moreover neighbouring Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh declared his support and stated that “restore law and order at the federal level, and punish those seeking to break up the country” furthermore he also said that dialogue with TPLF could split Ethiopia into pieces and set an example for other groups in the region.  This situation not only trigger the domestic violence but also pull regional players in the war.  Which could disturb the regional peace as neighbouring countries would fight for their interests in the region. United Nations has already warned of grave humanitarian crisis, if a full-fledged clash rises.  However, African Union appealed for the protection of civilians and ceasing of animosities. 

Hence, the need of the hour is that all stakeholders should be called to prevent the war and conflict-free solution should be achieved so that civilians could be safeguarded, and humanitarian crisis could be avoided, and peace could be restored. 

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June 2024