The conflict in northern Ethiopia has shown no signs of slowing and last week included the bombing of a bustling market followed by the downing of a C-130 military transport plane by Tigrayan rebels.
The New York Times reported that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s aggression in Tigray has led to unfathomable conditions for those living there. Thousands have been killed, about 2 million have been displaced, and the region is experiencing its worst famine in a decade.
The stated reason for Ahmed’s government launching the major offense against the Tigray’s was because they held an election in September in violation of a countrywide voting ban due to the virus outbreak. He blamed Tigray leadership for violating “the constitution and endangering the constitutional system.”
The Trends Journal has been reporting on the conflict for months. (SEE: “ETHIOPIA AND SUDAN: TENSIONS RISING,” “ANOTHER ETHNIC MASSACRE IN ETHIOPIA.”)
The Times reported that Addis Ababa is having a difficult time keeping the insurgency at bay, and so it is resorting to bolder actions in the region. The airstrike on the market in Togoga was one of the deadliest assaults in the conflict. A United Nations official in the country told the paper that roughly 80 people were killed and 43 injured in the bombing. Those injured were rushed to Ayder hospital in Mekele, the regional capital, for treatment. Doctors were told that the bomb was dropped from a plane, The Associated Press reported.
The AP reported that young children were among the injured. A 2-year-old suffered extensive abdominal trauma and a baby died on the way to the hospital, which is about 37 miles from the site of the bombing. Witnesses said it was unclear if the bomb was dropped by Ethiopian bombers or planes dispatched from Eritrea.
Ethiopia said only rebels were killed in the airstrike.
“We do not accept that this operation targeted civilians,” Col. Getnet Adane said, according to Al Jazeera. He said rebels have been known to wear civilian clothing.
Insurgents from Tigray have seen recent gains and claimed to have taken back land that was once controlled by Eritrean soldiers. They also claim to have taken thousands of Ethiopian soldiers as prisoners.
TREND FORECAST: The Tigray war, launched by the Ethiopian government, has been essentially blacked out from the rest of the world. There are no news reporters in the Tigray region providing firsthand information, thus the true extent of the war, how many have been killed, and the damage done are only estimates.
However, as we have forecast, the greater the tensions rise and the deeper the nation falls economically, the more people in this highly-populated nation will seek refuge in safe-haven European nations. This will, in turn, boost populist political party movements throughout the Eurozone.
Mark Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, told the Security Council earlier this month that the blame for the famine in the region should be placed squarely on Eritrean forces.
“Eritrean soldiers are using starvation as a weapon of war,” he said.
Beyond Ethiopia, as we have been reporting, this trend will escalate, as economies throughout Africa continue to decline and civil unrest intensifies.