Tigrayan forces last month marched thousands of battered Ethiopian troops they had taken prisoner during the months-long conflict with the country’s military that resulted in a tense cease-fire but with reports of continued fighting.
As we have been reporting, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the 2019 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, ordered a major offensive in the region in November because Tigrayan leaders held an election in violation of a countrywide voting ban due to the coronavirus. The parade of prisoners contradicted Abiy’s claim that troops from the country were not captured and not defeated.
The New York Times pointed out Abiy declared victory last year. The paper described the poor conditions of many of these prisoners; some had fresh wounds and others were carried on stretchers. The paper said these prisoners had been marching for four days and were being taken to a prison in the Tigrayan capital of Mekelle. Top leaders in Tigray claim its forces managed to capture 6,000 soldiers during the conflict.
On Monday, forces from Tigray were headed south from Mekelle to recapture control for a major town called Alamata. An Ethiopian military spokesman did not confirm the fighting and told Reuters that there was a ceasefire. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front called the ceasefire a joke, and a resident from another town, Korem, confirmed the fighting. The TPLF said its goal is to regain its pre-war borders.
The Trends Journal has reported extensively on the conflict since its onset. (See: “ANOTHER ETHNIC MASSACRE IN ETHIOPIA,” “ETHIOPIA WAR=TIGRAY SLAUGHTER.”)
The conditions in the region are horrible and the UN determined that at least 350,000 are dealing with famine, some other agencies put that number at about 900,000.
The Times reported that a guerrilla army from Tigray—once unhappy with its own government—became united after all of the atrocities at the hands of Ethiopian and Eritrean forces.
One commander said the support for the war effort was “like a flood.”
TREND FORECAST: Despite Abiy’s Tigray War loss, his ruling Prosperity Party “overwhelmingly” won the general elections on Saturday and he will remain in power another term. The country’s opposition and foreign observers raised concerns about the integrity of the election.
As Tsedale Lemma, the founder of the monthly magazine Addis Standard wrote in an op-ed article for the New York Times, “Far from supplying legitimacy to the government and stability to the country, the election—boycotted by opposition parties and undertaken amid a war—is likely to pull Ethiopia further apart, to calamitous effect.”
Thus, we forecast social unrest and military violence will escalate in Ethiopia.