News Alerts

12 Nov 2020 | 12:52 AM UTC

Ethiopia: Tigrayan authorities call for people to mobilize November 11 /update 6

Ethiopia News Alert

TPLF declares state of emergency and call for people to mobilize as clashes in the region continue on November 11; avoid the region and monitor for updates

TIMEFRAME expected from 11/11/2020, 12:00 AM until 11/14/2020, 11:59 PM (Africa/Addis_Ababa). COUNTRY/REGION Tigray

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Event

On Wednesday, November 11, the TPLF reportedly declared a state of emergency and called on all Tigrayans to defend themselves against "flagrant aggression" from the federal government, warning that those who fail to cooperate will face consequences. The call for Tigrayans to mobilize comes after clashes continued in the region for an eighth day after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed rejected a request for peace talks by Tigrayan authorities. Hundreds have reportedly been killed and tens of thousands displaced by the civil conflict.

Further military clashes are likely in the Tigray region in the medium term, with a realistic possibility of civilian harm in major flashpoint areas.

Context

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that he had ordered a military offensive in the Tigray Region on November 4, after accusing security forces aligned with the regional TPLF of attacking ENDF positions in the state. The operation follows two years of escalating tensions between the TPLF and the federal government in Addis Ababa, which they had previously dominated before the appointment of Abiy as prime minister in 2018, amid claims that the region was being marginalized by his sweeping reforms program. However, tensions reached a high point in September when the TPLF staged their own regional elections in the Tigray region in defiance of a decision by the government to suspend national polls due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The federal government subsequently declared the vote illegal and the upper house of Ethiopia's parliament voted to withhold budgetary subsidies to Tigray in early October. Amid the rising tensions, regional authorities also issued a statement on Tuesday, November 3, accusing Addis Ababa of planning a war in the Tigray region.

Both sides have reported gains during the first few days of conflict and the Prime Minister's hopes that the military intervention will be swiftly concluded seem initially premature. Although no casualty figures have been confirmed, the general consensus is that fatalities have rapidly reached the hundreds and are likely to continue to rise as the fighting intensifies. The government appears intent on forcing an outcome militarily and is understood to have rejected TPLF calls for dialogue.

Advice

Those in the Tigray region are advised to monitor developments in their area of operations and liaise with appropriate consular authorities. Travelers should avoid the Tigray Region and northern areas of the Amhara region whilst hostilities continue and heed any directives issued by local authorities.

 

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