Two-Year War Escalates in Ethiopia

Tigrayan civil war resurges with no foreseeable end


Baz Ratner/Reuters

Refugees in 2021 wait to receive supplies

by Isabel Andjell, Staff Writer

The conflict between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s national army and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has been raging since November 2020. Tigray is a region in northern Ethiopia with a strong military force and political party, despite only making up 10% of the population.

In 2020, due to COVID, Ethiopia postponed its elections. The people of Tigray, however, held their own election a month later. On November 4, a statement was issued by Ahmed saying that the Tigrayans had attacked a military base and now he would be forced to respond with military action. This situation was initially called a “law and order operation,” merely a means to bring government-defying politicians to justice, with promises of zero bloodshed and termination of the situation within a couple of weeks. This did not occur. More than 60,000 Tigrayans were forced to flee to Sudan, and the ones who stayed, were met with infrastructure cut-off: electricity, communication, banking services, and food aid.

In 2021, the Ethiopian military joined forces with the Eritrean military, which had been in a bitter war with the TPLF between 1998 and 2000. Citizens were called to join the fight by the Ethiopian government. This led to entire-villages-worth of casualties on both sides of the fighting, particularly in a region south of Tigray called Amhara. The Eritrean military began to pull out from Tigray and the Ethiopian government announced a ceasefire, but the TPLF said that they would not halt their fighting until all enemy troops had left their region.

This battling bled well into 2022, though there was a ceasefire announced on March 24, where Ethiopia’s government declared an “indefinite humanitarian truce, effective immediately.” While this truce was meant to get aid to victims of a man-made famine, the situation remained critical. On Tuesday, August 23, an air raid hit a neighborhood in Mekelle, Tigray’s capital, and hit the town hospital in addition to two other devastating bombs. Another air raid took place on Friday, August 26 – this time it hit a children’s playground and resulted in seven casualties.

Knowing what will happen next is impossible, but until then, it’s crucial to spread the word about this catastrophe and send as much support as possible.