There are fears that the political tension in Ethiopia could lead to a civil war.
While the federal government alleged that a military base was taken over by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) on Wednesday, the front also claimed that parts of its capital city were attacked by soldiers.
There has been tension between TPLF, a former dominant member of Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
The row between the TPLF and Ahmed is said to have begun shortly after the prime minister took over office in 2018.
Ahmed had removed key figures of the Tigray front from the central government over allegations of corruption.
But the immediate trigger of the unrest is said to be the move of the federal government to suspend elections that held in Tigray in September.
The government said it considered doing so to curb the spread of COVID-19 but the polls still held.
In response, the federal government decided to cut ties with Tigray and suspended budget aid to the region, in October.
On Thursday, the Associated Press quoted Birhanu Jula, Ethiopia’s army deputy chief, as saying that the country is being forced into an “unexpected and aimless war.”
Jula said the military has been sent to Tigray from other parts of the country but “the army will not go anywhere.”
“The war will end there,” the deputy army chief said over fears that the conflict could spread to neighbouring counties.
On his part, Debretsion Gebremichael, Tigray region’s president, said they are ready to be “martyrs.”
“We are in position to defend ourselves from enemies that waged war on the Tigray region. We are ready to be martyrs,” Gebremichael said. (The Cable)