Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, ordered his forces to launch an offensive against the rebellious northern province of Tigray.
These are key points:
- Prime Minister Abiy accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) of attempting to steal artillery and other equipment from federal forces stationed there. “The last red line has been crossed with this morning’s attacks and the federal government is therefore forced into a military confrontation,” Abiy’s office said in a statement. The Ethiopian National Defence Forces have been ordered to carry out “their mission to save the country and the region from spiralling into instability”, the statement said.
- Internet and communications between Tigray and the rest of the world has been cut.
- Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s statement in full is posted below
- There is a report that Ethiopia’s Northern Command is resisting the Prime Minister’s order to attack Tigray
- The Federal government offensive came after repeated warnings from the authorities in Tigray that they were about to face an attack
Here is a report from the BBC
Ethiopia PM orders military response to ‘base attack’
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has ordered a military offensive to subdue a long-running separatist movement in Tigray state, following an alleged attack on an army base.
Mr Abiy accused the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), of launching the attack.
He also said the group “tried to loot” military assets, in a statement posted on social media.
Details of the attack could not be immediately verified.
Tensions between the government and TPLF have escalated in recent months, with both sides accusing the other of plotting to use military force.
In the statement, posted on his Twitter and Facebook pages, Mr Abiy said defence forces “have been ordered to carry out their mission to save the country”.
He added: “The final point of the red line has been crossed. Force is being used as the last measure to save the people and the country.”
The Tigray region’s president, Debrestion Gebremichael, told reporters on Monday the government were going to attack – alleging it was punishment for organising its own election for the Tigray parliament in September, in direct defiance of the federal government and electoral board decision to postpone all elections.
The government has described the vote as “illegal”. The national electoral board has since said the general election should go ahead in May or June of next year.
The Tigrayans held most of Ethiopia’s political power from 1991 to 2018, when Mr Ahmed was elected. Since then, their power has waned.
Mr Abiy, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, is facing increasing criticism from a number of sides, with some accusing him of locking up those who oppose his government.