The Ethiopian military has been ordered into the country's northernmost Tigray region after one of its bases was attacked there. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed gave the orders on November 4, less than 24 hours after the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) had launched an early morning attack against a federal military base.

Much of the world's attention was still on the results of the American presidential election, but the conflict in Ethiopia was reported by the BBC and America's National Public Radio (NPR). NPR quoted Abiy as saying the TPLF had crossed "the last red line" with its attack on the base.

NPR reported that the "well-armed and well-trained" TPLF was "the most powerful regional force" in Ethiopia.

Six-Month state of emergency

A six-month state of emergency in the Tigray region has been declared by the national government, according to NPR. The BBC reported that the national government had also cut off electricity and internet and telephone services in Tigray.

Election held in defiance of Federal Government

The president of the Tigray region, Debrestion Gebremichael, was quoted by NPR as saying the Ethiopian central government was attacking his region because elections had recently been held there against the national government's will. Those September parliamentary elections had been prohibited by the government and the country’s election board because of the coronavirus pandemic, the BBC said, adding that the central government considered the elections illegal.

Ethiopia-Eritrea relations

The BBC quoted the prime minister’s office as accusing the TPLF of wearing uniforms that looked like those of the Eritrean army.

The prime minister’s office claimed the intention had been to set up the neighboring country for bogus claims of aggression against the inhabitants of Tigray, the BBC said.

In 2019, Abiy received the Nobel Peace Prize for re-establishing relations with Eritrea, a historic adversary, the BBC recalled. According to the news service, his rapport with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki has not won Abiy many friends in Tigray, where Afwerki is viewed as an enemy.

Regional stability

Abiy said the Ethiopian army was going into "to save the country and region," the BBC reported. NPR quoted analyst Rashid Abdi as warning the conflict in Ethiopia could destabilize the neighboring countries of Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan.

A statement from the US embassy in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, called for "an immediate de-escalation" of the conflict in Tigray, according to NPR. The news service quoted the statement as calling on both sides "to prioritize civilians' safety and security."

Don't miss our page on Facebook!