In 2020, the region of Tigray was thrust into focus following a major conflict and an ensuing humanitarian crisis. The news of the conflict made world news headlines all around the world just months after Ethiopia’s premier, Abiy Ahmed, claimed the Nobel Peace Prize.
Abiy was awarded the honour for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, among other supposed successes. Much has happened since the full-scale siege by the regional government in early November 2020. In this blog post, we will take a closer looking at the ongoing conflict in Tigray.
Where Is Tigray?
Tigray is the northernmost region in Ethiopia, located on the border with Eritrea. The majority of Ethiopia’s seven million ethnic Tigrayans live here, an ethnic group that has a considered influence in national affairs in the country. The region’s capital is Mekelle, which has a population of around 310,000.
What Happened In November?
Effectively, tensions between the region’s leaders and the central government, led by Abiy, spilled over. There were sustained clashes between the national military and Tigrayan forces. Amnesty International has claimed that there have been widespread killings of civilians.
Abiy criticised the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which controls the area’s regional government, describing their siege of a military base as treason. In retaliation for this attack, Abiy ordered a federal offensive.
How Bad Is the Humanitarian Crisis?
It’s very bad, though the true scale of the crisis is not yet clear. Organisations such as the United Nations have found it difficult to travel within the region in order to judge conditions.
What we do know is that thousands of people have died. This includes as a result of shelling in cities in the region by Ethiopian forces. Millions of people in the region have been displaced, with many fleeing to neighbouring Sudan.
Reports of war crimes and ethnic cleansing are also coming out of the region.
What Caused This Current Crisis?
The aforementioned Tigray People’s Liberation Front was established in the 70s in order to push (at the time) for Tigrayan self-determination. It ended up, however, as the dominant party in a coalition that ruled Ethiopia for almost 30 years.
When Abiy came to power in 2018, he accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front of seeking to destabilize Ethiopia. Delays of democratic elections continued to fuel the fire, with both sides calling the other illegitimate. The rhetoric spilled over with the siege on the military base.
For the latest on the humanitarian crisis in Tigray, you can rely on Statt Consulting. We provide tailored solutions to complex problems, frequently in dynamic or unstable environments.
Understanding the Complex Humanitarian Crisis In Tigray
Life for ordinary Tigrayans changed completed in November 2020. In the months since, the humanitarian crisis has progressively worsened. Millions of lives have been irreparably changed and many are at risk due to the Tigray conflict.
Here at Statt Consulting, we continue to be at the forefront of understanding the crisis. Contact us to learn more.