Current situation in Ethiopia
The escalation of violence in northern Ethiopia continues
About half a year has passed since the beginning of the military conflict in the Ethiopian region of Tigray. After months of tension between the Ethiopian central government and the regional Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) party, the conflict came to a head in November last year when the Tigray regional government held elections to the regional parliament, despite the central government's cancellation of all election dates due to the advancing COVID-19 pandemic in the country. When security forces of the TPFL government carried out military demonstrations of force and took over several army bases in Tigray, the Ethiopian central government launched a military operation in the north of the country. According to witnesses, Eritrean troops should also cooperate with the central government and be deployed in the region.
Since then, the region has been sinking into a spiral of violence. According to the Ethiopian opposition parties, at least 52,000 people have died in Tigray since November 2020, and around 60,000 have fled to neighboring Sudan, according to the UN refugee agency. The civilian population in the region is the main victim of the war - the UN estimates that 4 million people, two thirds of the population of Tigray, are in dire need of humanitarian aid. Meanwhile, residents of the region are reporting attacks against civilians. According to human rights groups, survivors also report rape of the civilian population by pro-government forces and paramilitaries. Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed first admitted on March 23, 2021 that war crimes may be committed in the conflict region of Tigray.
At the same time, only a small amount of reliable information leaks out of the area. Aid organizations cannot reach parts of the region or can only reach them with difficulty, the situation is not transparent. The civil consequences of the conflict are difficult to assess. The country is still struggling with the consequences of a locust plague that caused widespread crop failures in the country in 2019. The consequences of the corona pandemic are still noticeable and continue to pose existential problems for parts of the population.