On Monday June 28, the Tigray Defense Forces took possession of Mekelle, the regional capital of Tigray. The resumption of the city is the consequence of 8 months of intense fighting between the government and the rebels. The conflict began in November when President Abiy Ahmed sent troops to overthrow regional authorities in the north. This intervention followed allegations by the president about the attack on a military base by the TPLF. The capture of Mekelle led to the escalation of tensions between the rebel forces of Tigray and the Ethiopian authorities. From then on, Addis Ababa urged the opposition forces to adopt a ceasefire. The TPLF, the political arm of the TDF, initially refused the deal as the offer was insignificant.
The international community became very concerned about the situation. Indeed, the war destroyed many infrastructures (bridges, etc.) making access to humanitarian aid very difficult. According to UNICEF, around 140,000 children suffer from malnutrition and are at high risk of mortality. The region no longer has access to electricity, telephone and internet. The spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross said hospitals were forced to run on generators. The United Nations has estimated that 350,000 people are suffering from famine in the Tigray region.
The United States and the United Kingdom considered urgent action to rehabilitate access to humanitarian aid, they also insisted on the withdrawal of Eritrean troops. Following international pressure, the TPLF agreed to consider a ceasefire under certain conditions. The group, considered terrorist by Addis Ababa, calls for the withdrawal of Eritrean troops and pro-government fighters. The rebel authority is also calling for the reestablishment of the Tigray government. Ultimately, the group called for the creation of a UN commission of inquiry to investigate abuses by Ethiopian and Eritrean troops during the conflict.
CD4Peace encourages dialogue between dissident parties in order to find solutions beneficial to civilians. Indeed, the refusal to discuss often leads to much more harmful and unproductive situations.