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Regional states silence over Tigray deafening

By Editorial | August 16th 2021

Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) volunteers hand over essential household items to internally displaced people sheltering in Mekele.

The situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region is slowly getting out of hand. Although Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had November last promised a swift operation that would topple Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), things are slowly becoming nightmarish and there is a veritable risk of an all out war in the country.

Besides continuing with fighting at home, TPLF has already taken the war east and south to the neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions respectively. Last week, 200 people including over 100 children, were reported to have been killed in a camp for displaced people in Afar. The conflict has so far left hundreds of people dead and displaced thousands others. Sudan is hosting more than 50,000 Tigray refugees.

Things are bound to get more complicated as both sides dig in. Last week, the federal government of Ethiopia asked eligible citizens to join the war effort: “Now is the right time for all capable Ethiopians who are of age to join the defence forces, special forces, and militias and show your patriotism,” said Abiy. Meanwhile, TPLF are reported to have joined forces with Oromo Liberation Army, another rebel group.

Yet international and regional countries don’t seem to be doing enough to stop Ethiopia from sliding deeper into the abyss of anarchy. Specifically, regional countries must step up efforts to pacify Ethiopia not only due to the fact that the country is an important pillar in the region but also because the region cannot afford to have another disastrous conflict like in Somalia. If Ethiopia is wracked by civil war, that will have far-reaching security and economic ramifications in all regional countries.

For that reason, regional presidents led by President Uhuru Kenyatta, should be seen and heard more calling for dialogue in Ethiopia.


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