In serious escalation, Ethiopian cabinet designates Tigray People Liberation Front terrorist organization

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Sun, 02 May 2021 - 01:59 GMT

An overview of Umm Rakouba refugee camp, which is housing people who fled the conflict in the Tigray, located in Qadarif, eastern Sudan. Nariman El-Mofty/AP

An overview of Umm Rakouba refugee camp, which is housing people who fled the conflict in the Tigray, located in Qadarif, eastern Sudan. Nariman El-Mofty/AP

CAIRO – 2 May 2021: The Ethiopian Cabinet approved on Saturday a proposal to designate the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) and Oromo Liberation Front-Shene (OLF-Shene) terrorist organizations.

 

The move is considered a serious escalation given that the TPLF was once part of the ruling regime in Ethiopia.

 

The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) got marginalized since Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018 prompting its ministers in the federal government to resign. Also, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) – of which the TPLF and entities representing other regions – got dismantled.

 

The TPLF governing the region housing more than five million people had tensions with the federal government after the prime minister had called off elections scheduled for August 2020.

 

As a result, the region's government held elections in the region in September 2020. As a consequence, the federal government refused to approve of the results of such elections. Equally, Tigray's government considered Ahmed's government illegitimate since October 5 calling on him to resign and advocating for the formation of an interim government until elections are held.

 

It is noted that half of members of the Ethiopian Armed Forces are affiliated to the TPLF, which possesses 70 percent of missiles, and anti-aircraft warfare.

 

On October 31, the Ethiopian Army issued a firm statement after Deputy Commander of the Northern Military Zone Gamal Mohamed had been captivated upon arrival to the region before he was released.

 

A large number of Tigray military commanders expelled by Ahmed from the Ethiopian Armed Forces and other security agencies have been training elements to defend the ethnicity.

 

On November 4, Abiy Ahmed launched military operations against the Tigray Region. Atrocities occurred, and 950,000 got displaced. Of those, 50,000 fled to Sudan.

 

The attacks were carried out by the Ethiopian Armed Forces and the special forces of Amhara Region. Eritrean forces have amassed on borders with Tigray, and reportedly took part in the aggression. Yet, Eretria's authorities deny the allegations. 

 

It is noted that Late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi whose rule extended from 1995 until his death in 2012 belonged to Tigray and was – while in office – leader of the TPLF and the EPRDF.

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