Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed under pressure to call for ceasefire in Tigray
ADDIS ABABA - The Ethiopian government is under increasing pressure from international partners to order for a ceasefire in the Tigray region, where the humanitarian crisis is worsening daily, with hundreds of deaths and starvation being reported by several non-state actors.
Since November 2020, the Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF], Eritrea troops, and Amhara regional forces have been going ballistic at the Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF] otherwise known as Tigray Defense Forces, leaving hundreds of civilians dead.
Although Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has often announced plans to withdraw Eritrean troops, such a move is yet to be implemented. A number of people have termed the conflict "worst in history" with others calling the mass killings "genocide" despite defense from Addis Ababa.
The international community now wants Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to declare a ceasefire in the Tigray region to allow humanitarian organizations to reach millions of people who face famine. Several blockades have been imposed by the troops in the region.
The war in Tigray has disrupted harvests and led to huge problems for the delivery of aid to communities, particularly in rural areas. More than 2 million people are thought to have been displaced by the conflict.
In a statement, the United States backed a statement released by the United Kingdom which called for a ceasefire, arguing that the humanitarian crisis in the region was deteriorating. A couple of weeks ago, the US imposed travel sanctions on top officials from Ethiopia and Eritrea.
"We agree with the UK that the humanitarian situation in Tigray is rapidly deteriorating. A break in the fighting NOW, coupled with unfettered humanitarian access, will immediately help avert the risk of famine," read the statement by the American embassy in Addis Ababa.
"The U.S. calls for a cessation of hostilities by all conflict parties and unfettered humanitarian access so that aid can flow and famine can be averted," the statement further read.
James Duddridge, the UK Minister for Africa, asked all parties involved in the conflict to allow humanitarian teams access to thousands of people believed to be starving. The Eritrean troops are said to be notorious for blocking humanitarian teams.
"Nine humanitarian staff have been killed in Tigray since November. Relief workers are Not A Target and must be protected. The UK calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire by all parties to the conflict to allow aid to be delivered and prevent impending famine," he noted.
The US President Joe Biden had last week said: "All parties, in particular the Ethiopian and Eritrean forces, must allow immediate, unimpeded humanitarian access to the region in order to prevent widespread famine."
Tigray region has been pushing for autonomy from the Ethiopian administration and the situation has worsened since 2019 after Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF] pulled out of government. The region went on to conduct elections contrary to the wish of Addis Ababa in 2020.