Conflict and Crisis in Ethiopia
By Manuel Wallick
After attempted resistance and combat in the northern region of Tigray in Ethiopia, there is now a developing humanitarian disaster in the region. Civil war erupted in the East African nation with Tigray and its ruling party clashing with the federal government of Ethiopia. The tipping point was the ruling party allegedly trying to steal arms from the federal government which then sent in troops. Tensions had been rising for months due to economic and social hardships in the country that finally led to war.
Combat began early in November on the orders of the Ethiopian Prime Minister and has progressed mostly in the government’s favor. The conflict has also pulled in neighboring Eritrea, a country Tigray leaders have accused of helping the Ethiopian government. The result is conflict near the border and rockets striking the Eritrean capital. On November 28th, nearly a month after the start of hostilities, Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed declared victory and claimed control of the Tigray capital. Yet fighting was not over, and Tigray forces were seen gathering outside the capital ready to continue the fight. This could result in a guerrilla war in the region going on for the foreseeable future.
Solid details are hard to come by, as outsiders have not been allowed into the region and little has managed to come out thus far. Allegations have been made that the Ethiopian government has blocked refugees from fleeing to Sudan or returning, but this has not confirmed much due to an information blackout. Despite these allegations, Sudan has taken in thousands of refugees and requires outside support. Refugee camps have more than doubled in size and are supporting increasing numbers of Tigray civilians. Unfortunately, refugees are not the only issue facing the region as food supplies have also dwindled. This threatens the remaining population in the region as well as refugees from Eritrea who live in camps in the Tigray regions. The United Nations stated that food is running out for the nearly 100,000 refugees though, they have struck a deal with Ethiopia to gain access to bring food. Tigray leaders have called on government forces to withdraw from the region and to halt their actions which were likened to “madness” while also pledging to keep fighting and win.
Manuel Wallick is a sophomore from Lexington, South Carolina, majoring in political science.
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