Tigray crisis: Again, time to pull back from the brink
Upon the assumption of office of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Ethiopia, many were encouraged. In the current Tigray crisis, a lot of that expectation has evaporated. It is time to pull back from the brink. And to reset the outline for a greater Ethiopia once again.
The latest of the growing surge of disappointment is coming from the United Nations, which recently warned that the Ethiopia conflict may presently be ‘spiralling out of control,’ even as the global body pointed to preliminary evidence at its disposal that the crisis which is now in its second month, was taking a toll on the nation and having an ‘appalling impact on civilians.’
Part of the immediate source of the UN’s worry is the marked escalation in the numbers of Ethiopian refugees who have fled the Tigray conflict and now have to be catered for by the UN and other aid agencies.
In all of this however, the authorities in Addis Ababa are insisting that the situation is largely under control and that the country “doesn’t need a babysitter”.
But in the midst of revelations that the fighting is thought to have led to the deaths of thousands of people, including civilians, and at the least one large-scale massacre, it is clear that something has to be done.
This is even more problematic as there are continuing disagreements on the status of military action at present. While the authorities say that the military objectives have been achieved, there are still alternative reports suggesting that skirmishes are still being recorded in areas around Mekelle, Sheraro and the historic town of Axum.
Interestingly, in the course of the week, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took time off to open a cross-border highway linking Ethiopia to Kenya. While this is a quite notable development, coming as it were only weeks to the commencement of trading on the landmark African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, the Prime Minister would need to be reminded that enduring peace is indeed the bedrock of all economic growth and development.
It is time to halt the fighting and start the talking.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia