Africa as a continent has witness various form of civil unrest ranging from armed militants, Islamist fundamentalist, ethnic militia, armed bandits, civil war and all other form of militancy insurgence that is ravaging the continent, in which East Africa is not left out of the proportion and had a fair share in tackling and dealing with one or other form of military or political insurrection, from the Somali civil war in the early 90’s, the Eritrea civil war, Sudan and South Sudan crisis and now to the current civil war in Ethiopia has showed and portrayed a pattern in these crisis of which are often tune along the line of ethnic and religious dimension , which do leave many people to wonder if there will ever be peace in Africa as a continent
The crisis in Ethiopia started in November when the Nobel Prize award winning prime minister of Ethiopia ordered a military action against the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), The major and dominant political party of the Tigray region after months of conflict over political instability and electoral legitimacy, Abiy who came into power in 2018 and has once won the precious Nobel peace award in 2019 due to the significance role he played in ensuring peace and stability between his own country Ethiopia and break away country Eritrea, being a man globally known with the symbol of peace, many wonder what could have happened that the prime minister cannot initiate dialogue mechanism in phase of conflict resolution rather than ordering military action against the people of the Tigray region.
The crisis which erupted after the national government of Abiy shifted the general election because of coronavirus pandemic, a deadly disease which has ravaged the world with Africa as continent and Ethiopia as a country not being left out, but the TPLF which was one of the oldest and strongest political party since 1994 revolution that brought them as a political party leading the country politics by creating 10 different ethnic political democratic party that has over time brought stability in the country for over two decades until political uprising that brought Abiy into office in 2018.
The TPFL who controls the northern part of Ethiopia popularly known as the Tigray region refuse to reschedule election in their region and have election conducted despite strong disapproval from the central government of Abiy Ahmed.
After the conduction of election by the TPLF of the Tigray region despite the central government strong disapproval, the central government of Abiy also in retaliation suspended the funds meant for the Tigray region and cut all form of tiers with the region of which the leaders of the Tigray region term such decision as “declaration of war” against the region.
The crisis reached another dimension when the Abiy government accused the Tigray forces of invading and attacking army bases in order to steal weapons which the Abiy described as “crossing the red line” and the central government was therefore forced into military confrontation”.
The military action of Abiy central government had initially lay a seize around the Tigray region with air to ground shelling through bombing and all other military action which has left over 2 millions of people around the Tigray region to fled their home due to the military invasion with tens of thousands of them soughting for refuge in neighbouring countries like sudan and Kenya.
The TPFL being designated as a terrorist organization after taking over federal military bases in November 2020 the crisis led to full blown war between the federal government of Ethiopia and the TPLF.
Major means of communication have been stopped or largely cut off from the Tigray region, several humanitarian aid workers or organizations have been grounded by the federal Ethiopia government leaving the people of the Tigray region with little or no aid and humanitarian assistance in a conflict that have leave over 350,000 people living in famine and extreme poverty. According to the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), they reported that movements of humanitarian workers in and out of the Tigray have been denied since October 28, 2021 while movement from Amara and Afar region is also restricted. Lack of fuel significantly reduced life saving operations in the region including water trucking, food distribution, nutrition, and health and protection services. In another report the Food and Agricultural Organization Nation(FAO) warned about potential for significant food insecurity as the 2021 winter rainy season saw its driest start ever.
The humanitarian crisis and human right abuse have been reported during the onslaught of this particular war in the tigray region against the civilian with also increase in sexual base violence especially against the woman and young girls within the region as many woman and young girls are trading sex for aids or money.
There over more 1,900 people ranging in age from infant to nineteen’s have been killed in over 150 separate attacks since the war broke out on November 4, 2020 as reported by the GUARDIAN.
The new twist to the crisis is the rejuvenation of the TPLF since the early 2021 thereby successfully pushing the Ethiopian and Eritrean forces out of the Tigray region as early as June of this year, even though the Ethiopian prime minister describes the situation as withdrawal of forces from the region.
The TPLF also received a boost from other anti-government factions as over nine factions had declared support and have joined forces with the aim of ousting the central government of Abiy from power. With the capture of Tigray region back from the federal forces and captures of thousands of soldiers in November the tide of the war has shifted and seems to have now favoured the TPFL which lead to their advance in onslaught against the federal forces and eventually leading to the capture of two major towns on the highway leading to Addis Ababa the country home capital.
With the advancement of the TPFL toward the capital the Ethiopia prime minister Abiy has appealed to the citizens to take up arms to block fighters who he describe as agent pushing the country towards its demise, by November 2, the Ethiopia government has declare a state of emergency, reflecting rapid escalation of a war that threaten to tear apart Ethiopia as a country in existence.
Several international organization and regional organization has called for peace and dialogue between the Ethiopian forces and the TPFL as many believe dialogue and resolution is the only feasible solution that can bring peace to a war country that is struggling with weak economy, drought and if care is not taken Africa is about to witness the worst and highest humanitarian crisis as Ethiopian house over 150 million people has her population becoming 2nd the most population African country ranking second to Nigeria.
In a continent that has the second highest population and highest poverty rate as per index ration, Africa as a continent cannot risk and further breakdown or civil war against an existing government has its already battling with in countries like Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Libya, Cameroon, Nigeria and many more other Africa countries as a the moment and just coming out of the coronavirus pandemic with many yet to recover from the effect of the global pandemic that ravage the continent.
The regional and continental body must do anything to bring back peace, stability and avoid a total full blown war more than what has already been experienced in Ethiopia.