Ethiopia Prime minister Abiy Ahmed rejects AU mediation as Tigray crisis escalates and civilians die

1,007FollowersFollow

The government of Abiy Ahmed in Ethiopia on Saturday rebuffed an effort by the African Union to mediate in his current conflict with Tigray, even as the regional crisis continues to metastasize and civilians pay with their lives.

Humanitarian organizations say they fear that a humanitarian crisis will follow all the bombings and deaths, with tens of thousands of Ethiopians already going into exile since the conflict exploded on November 4.

Abiy is accusing Tigrayan leaders of revolting against the central authority and attacking federal troops in the town of Dansha, while Tigray leaders say his government has marginalized and persecuting Tigrayans since he came into office in 2018. Abiy denies that accusation, saying he’s only trying to preserve law and order and the unity of Ethiopia and its 115 million people.

“The overall safety and well-being of the people of Tigray is of paramount importance to the Federal government and we will do all that is necessary to ensure stability prevails in the Tigray region and that our citizens are free from harm and want,” Abiy tweeted on Saturday.

Abiy’s parents are from the larger Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups while the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) dominated national politics from 1991 until Abiy was elected in 2018.

However, even in the Oromia region, Abiy’s government continues to detain thousands of opposition members, including several Oromo opposition leaders, following bloody protests there months ago.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s official visit to the state of Israel in 2019
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s official visit to the state of Israel in 2019

The African Union mediation

The African Union on Friday appointed former presidents Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa as special envoys to mediate and seek a ceasefire between Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

But the government tweeted that news about any mediation talks was fake. “News circulating that the envoys will be traveling to Ethiopia to mediate between the Federal Government and the TPLF’s criminal element is fake,” the government tweeted.

The government indicated that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for a peace pact with Eritrea, aims to capture TPLF before talking.

The government said its troops had seized another town in their march towards the Tigray capital of Mekelle, home to about half a million people, adding that the town of Adigrat, located about 116 kilometers (72 miles) north of Mekelle, had fallen.

The government has announced that it will soon reach Mekelle after taking various surrounding towns, including Adigrat that fell on Saturday.

TPLF said on Saturday that at least nine persons died among heavy casualties in artillery hits on Adigrat.

The government had previously denied targeting civilians, but with phone and internet connections down since the beginning of the conflict and media largely barred with several journalists in detention, it is hard to independently verify any information inside the troubled region.

Thousands of people are said to have died and tens of thousands of refugees have fled to Sudan since the conflict erupted on November 4, 2020.

Advance towards Mekelle

The Ethiopian government said the Tigrayan forces were bulldozing roads and destroying bridges to hold up the advance on Mekelle, but had that troops were continuing their advance to the capital.

But the conflict seems to be spiraling beyond the Tigray region with multiple reports alleging that Tigray forces had reportedly fired rockets at the neighboring Amhara region and into Eritrea.

Eritrea has denied the TPLF allegations that it had sent soldiers over the border to back Abiy’s offensive against the Tigrayan forces, who are also an old foe of Eritrea.

On Thursday, the United States government called for an independent investigation following massacres in the Tigray region in Ethiopia.

The United States said the investigation should not be conducted by the Ethiopian government or the the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which is fighting the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

U.S. Department of State Bureau of African Affairs Assistant Secretary Tibor P. Nagy and U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Michael A. Raynor spoke with reporters in a telephone conference from Washington D.C.

Mr. Nagy called for communication to be re-established in Tigray region and for humanitarian access to be ensured.

He said the United States remains concerned that civilians have been targeted, and that journalists have been arrested by the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

He called on neighboring countries to continue to welcome asylum seekers from Ethiopia, adding that the U.S. government is tracking the outflow of civilians from Ethiopia.

Nagy indicated that the U.S. government did not have any evidence the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhnom Ghebreyesus was supporting Tigray’s rebels or was trying to procure weapons for them as alleged the military in Ethiopia on Thursday.

Asked by reporters via teleconference whether he had seen any evidence the WHO chief was either lobbying or trying to purchase weapons for the TPLF, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of African Affairs Assistant Secretary Tibor P. Nagy said the allegations did not come from the US government.

Pressed further to say whether the US government had seen any evidence the WHO boss was actively engaged with the rebels, Tibor P. Nagy referred reporters to seek answers from the Ethiopian government.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Head of World Health Organization
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Head of World Health Organization

Ethiopia’s military on Thursday baselessly accused Tedros of backing the rebels.

The military claimed without providing any evidence that the WHO chief was trying to procure arms for Tigray state’s main political party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which is fighting the federal government.

Ethiopia’s army chief of staff General Birhanu Jula said in a televised address that Dr. Tedros Adhnom Ghebreyesus should be removed from office because he is “a criminal” and “a member of that group.”

Birhanu claimed that Tedros was using his international platform to get diplomatic support and weapons for the TPLF.

“He has been doing everything to support them, he has campaigned to get the neighboring countries to condemn the war,” Birhanu said in his televised address, without providing any evidence.

“He has worked to facilitate weapons for them. He tried to lobby people by using his international profile and mission to get support for the TPLF junta,” he added.

Tedros is an Ethiopian of Tigrayan origin but the military did not provide any evidence to back up its incendiary claims.

As he fights the deadly coronavirus, Dr. Tedros, who was Ethiopia’s health minister and foreign minister in a ruling coalition led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), has often come under attack from people in his own country, and from the outgoing American President, Donald John Trump, who also baselessly accused him and the WHO of being “China-centric” and of not providing the US early warnings about COVID-19.

President Donald J. Trump, joined by senior White House advisors and Cabinet members, addresses his remarks in the Rose Garden at a press briefing on issues with China and announcing the termination of U.S. relations with the World health Organization. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)
President Donald J. Trump, joined by senior White House advisors and Cabinet members, addresses his remarks in the Rose Garden at a press briefing on issues with China and announcing the termination of U.S. relations with the World health Organization. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

But a book and tapes by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward showed that Mr. Trump deliberately downplayed the pandemic to protect his presidency. He also praised China himself and only began to blame everyone else when many Americans began to die under his watch.

President Donald J. Trump, joined by senior White House advisors and Cabinet members, addresses his remarks in the Rose Garden at a press briefing on issues with China and announcing the termination of U.S. relations with the World health Organization. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)
President Donald J. Trump, joined by senior White House advisors and Cabinet members, addresses his remarks in the Rose Garden at a press briefing on issues with China and announcing the termination of U.S. relations with the World health Organization. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

The TPLF was the ruling party in Ethiopia for decades as the most powerful part of the coalition until Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018 promising to bring change.

The Prime Minister of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia H.E. Mr. Abiy Ahmed has arrived in Sochi to take part in the Russia–Africa Summit. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS
The Prime Minister of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia H.E. Mr. Abiy Ahmed arrives in Sochi to take part in the Russia–Africa Summit in October 2019 Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS

The TPLF has refused to join Abiy’s own national party, after the other three regional parties were folded into his own.

Tedros, 55, has survived previous unfounded accusations since he was elected in May 2017 as the WHO’s first African director-general.

Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now

U.S. calls for independent probe into massacres in Tigray region in Ethiopia

The United States government on Thursday called for an independent investigation following massacres in the Tigray region in Ethiopia.The United States said the investigation...

Trump campaign files appeal after Judge called legal claim in Pennsylvania “Frankenstein’s Monster” before dismissing it

President Donald Trump’s legal team on Sunday filed an appeal to a federal judge’s ruling that dismissed his campaign's effort to block the certification...

Biden announces foreign policy and national security team, including Blinken as Secretary of State, Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security and Kerry as envoy on climate

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Monday announced key members of his foreign policy and national security team, including Antony Blinken as Secretary of State;...

Angry South African President fully rejects US allegations against him and his Phala Phala wildlife farm over treatment of animals

In a statement on Saturday, the presidency in South Africa said allegations against President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Phala Phala wildlife farm over the...

Nigerian anti-narcotic agents call for immediate sack of their boss, demand judicial panel of inquiry to probe his many sins

Officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in Nigeria have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack the Chairman/Chief Executive Col. Muhammad...

U.S. government has no evidence WHO director general Tedros Adhnom Ghebreyesus is backing Tigray rebels

The United States government on Thursday indicated that it did not have any evidence the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros...

Special security squad searches Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s main opposition candidate at airport

The main opposition candidate in Nigeria, Mr Atiku Abubakar, was thoroughly searched when he returned to the country from Dubai on Sunday morning.The search...

WHO warns up to 5 million people could die without 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week

Up to 5 million deaths a year could be averted if the global population was more active. At a time when many people are...

President-elect Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden wish nation Happy Thanksgiving in moving CNN op-ed

“Like you, our family will hold on to our most important tradition: taking a moment to count the many reasons we have to be...

WHO urges African countries to ramp up readiness for COVID-19 vaccination drive

As the race to find a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is showing increasing promise, a new World Health Organization (WHO) analysis finds that Africa is...

Remembering soccer legend Diego Maradona

World soccer great Diego Maradona died on Wednesday from a heart attack, less than a month after his 60th birthday.He died at home...

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva heartbroken over passing of former World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn

The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Ms. Kristalina Georgieva on Wednesday expressed deep sadness over the passing of Sir James David Wolfensohn,...

Trump announces full pardon for Michael Flynn

President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that he had granted full pardon to the former national security adviser, Michael Flynn."It is my Great Honor...

Biden delivers inspiring thanksgiving message to the nation, urges Americans to come together, defeat COVID-19 and dream again

U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday delivered an inspiring thanksgiving message to the nation, urged Americans to come together, defeat COVID-19 and...

WHO warns up to 5 million people could die without 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week

Up to 5 million deaths a year could be averted if the global population was more active. At a time when many people are home bound due to COVID-19, new WHO Guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behavior, launched on Thursday, emphasize that everyone, of all ages and abilities, can be physically active and that every type of movement counts.The new guidelines recommend at least 150...
error: Alert: Content is protected !!
Share
Tweet
WhatsApp
Pin
Share