Ethiopia: No Peace at Hand

Radio Erena: 15 October 2021

The rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Northern Ethiopia and the repeated international calls for urgent aid delivery haven’t deterred the new Abiy Ahmed’s government from launching an offensive against T.D.F in the south Amhara region. The ongoing offensive was preceded by intensive airstrikes that forced T.D.F to retreat to remote areas, only means that peace in Ethiopia doesn’t seem at hand.

On September 30, three Eritrean children died in the Mai Aini camp due to starvation. Sources in the camp confirmed to Radio Erena that Mrs. Birikhti Arfaini had lost two children; whereas Mr. Akhberom, another camp resident, had lost one child. These deaths which went unnoticed by the international community are ominous about the bleak future of the region. U.N chief, Antonio Guterres, addressing the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia, asked the Ethiopian government to allow food aid delivery in Tigray, Amhara, and Afar regions. His calls were unheeded in Addis Ababa, which was busy turning the military balance to her side. Even the E.U Parliament’s heavily-worded resolution was ignored by Ethiopian officials.

The resolution adopted on October 7, by 618 yeses against only 4 nays called for an immediate halt of hostilities by all parties; and threatened a wide range of sanctions which may include an arms embargo on all the belligerent parties. The core of the resolution concentrated on the improvement of the humanitarian situation in the three regions touched by the war.

In Addis Ababa, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is impatiently using his new five-year mandate to forcefully eject the T.D.F of the Amhara region and ultimately from the Tigray region itself. The decisive offensive was not officially declared by the new government, but the fighting was intensified by the introduction of drones and hi-tech weapons against the insurgents. In response, the Tigray External Affairs Office T.E.A.O called for the immediate halt of the offensive, accusing the federal government of engaging in a “shopping spree” of modern arms, the press release also referred to the federal army generals’ threats that they will recapture Mekelle in a matter of days. Despite its calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, T.D.F itself can’t be absolved from expanding the range of the conflict out of its region for strategic and tactical reasons.

According to Declan Walsh, the New York Times Africa correspondent, top Tigrayan general Tsadkan Gebretensae warned that this war’s ramifications will be military, political, and diplomatic; and the war will be “decisive for the country.” Walsh also quoted Mark Lowcock’s, the former U.N. humanitarian chief, comment on the scope and consequences of the recent war as saying “If he – Abiy Ahmed- tries and fails to destroy Tigray, he will be destroyed himself. If he succeeds, he will never survive the backlash that will follow.”
The new destructive round of war in Ethiopia will mean more devastation and suffering. It will widely open the gates for the famine at doors. Above all, regrettably, peace doesn’t seem to be hand in the near future.

By Fathi Osman