Ethiopia-Tigray war: who is fighting and what has been the toll?

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Who is warring successful Ethiopia?

Ethiopian authorities forces and their allies person been warring against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling enactment of the country’s bluish region, for conscionable implicit a year. But the struggle has developed rapidly aft the Ethiopians suffered a bid of reverses since June, and the TPLF has recruited much allies to its cause.

On Friday, 8 different rebel groups, including the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), announced they and the TPLF were joining forces amid increasing speculation they volition effort to march connected the superior pursuing a bid of subject gains.

They are pitted against the Ethiopian National Defence Force and irregular combatants from Amhara, which lies to the southbound of Tigray.

Also warring connected the authorities broadside are troops from Eritrea, which borders Tigray to the north. Eritrea’s leader, Isaias Afwerki, is adjacent to Ethiopia’s premier minister, Abiy Ahmed, and is simply a sworn force of the TPLF, which ruled Ethiopia erstwhile the 2 countries fought a borderline war.

The TPLF was the ascendant unit successful Ethiopia’s conjugation authorities until 2018, erstwhile discontent amongst the largest taste groups, the Oromo and Amhara, led to the elevation of Abiy Ahmed, who is of mixed Oromo-Amharic parentage, arsenic premier minister.

But Abiy has gradually mislaid enactment arsenic the warfare has gone on, starring to the enactment of the confederation betwixt the TPLF and the OLA, who correspond formerly historical foes.

Ethiopia map

How atrocious is the warring and what has been the toll connected civilians?

Accurate accusation astir the struggle is hard to obtain. Journalists are banned from combat zones, Tigray has been taxable to an net blackout and precise fewer humanitarian agencies are operating connected the ground. Rough estimates suggest that determination implicit 100,000 radical person been killed.

There person been aggregate reports of massacres, intersexual unit and different atrocities committed by each sides to the struggle – and accusations that a blockade of Tigray has led to famine conditions, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. Tigray accuses Addis of having tried to wage a run of genocide – which is sharply rejected by the government.

On 3 November a associated UN-Ethiopian report connected the struggle – the astir broad yet – elaborate first-hand accounts of a drawstring of quality rights violations, immoderate of which “may magnitude to warfare crimes and crimes against humanity,” according to Michele Bachelet, the UN precocious commissioner for quality rights.

The commissioner said “the bulk of the violations” documented betwixt November 2020 and June 2021 look to person been committed by Ethiopian forces and their Eritrean allies. But since the Tigrayan counter-offensive had started, Bachelet added that determination were “an expanding fig of allegations of quality rights abuses by Tigray forces”.

How did the struggle begin?

Abiy launched subject operations successful Tigray successful November 2020 aft he accused section authorities of attacking a subject campy and attempting to loot subject assets. The TPLF denied the complaint and accused Abiy of concocting the communicative to warrant the offensive.

Who are the Tigrayans?

The portion is successful the mountainous north-west country of Ethiopia, and borders Eritrea and Sudan. There are astir 7 cardinal inhabitants, retired of a full Ethiopian colonisation of 110 million, but the portion has played an outsized relation successful the country’s caller history.

Tigrayans person a formidable past of subject success. They spearheaded the rebel march to Addis Ababa that ousted a brutal Marxist dictatorship successful 1991 and bore the brunt of a 1998-2000 warfare with Eritrea, during which hundreds of thousands of radical were killed. Their region’s unsmooth terrain is perfect for guerilla-type warfare with section cognition and support.

What has been the people of the war?

Government forces initially routed the rebels, but the concern changed successful June this twelvemonth erstwhile Tigrayan fighters retook overmuch of the region. Since past they person made important territorial gains and present power parts of Amhara and Afar regions, displacing hundreds of thousands and widening the crisis.

In precocious October Tigrayan forces said they had seized power of the strategical cities of Dessie and Kombolcha, positioning them to determination down a large roadworthy towards Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia caller warring map

Abiy has called connected each citizens to combat the approaching forces, and a nationwide authorities of exigency was declared connected 2 November.

What is the planetary assemblage saying?

Diplomatic efforts to effort to avert an onslaught connected Addis Ababa gathered gait this week with a sojourn to the metropolis by the US peculiar envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman. There person been calls for an contiguous ceasefire from the UN, which has said “the stableness of Ethiopia and the wider portion is astatine stake”, and from the Intergovernmental Authority connected Development, a bloc of eastbound African countries.

The blockade of Tigray has been described by the US Agency for International Development arsenic “perhaps the astir egregious humanitarian obstruction successful the world”.