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Abiy Ahmed
Image: AP Photo/picture alliance

Ethiopia PM mobilizes military in Tigray region

November 4, 2020

Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed, who won last year's Nobel Peace Prize, has declared a state of emergency in the Tigray region, where he accuses the regional government of attacking an army base.


Ethiopia's prime minister declared a state of emergency in the northern Tigray region on Wednesday.

Speaking in a TV address earlier, Abiy Ahmed (pictured) said he would order a military offensive after months of "provocation and incitement" by Tigray authorities.

"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," he said.

Abiy said the region's ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), had attacked a military base in Mekele, northern Tigray early Wednesday and attempted to take artillery and other equipment.

The federal government also accused the TPLF of arming and organizing irregular militias.

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The statement immediately raised concerns that one of Africa's most populous and powerful countries could plunge back into war.

In September, people in Tigray voted in a local election, defying the federal government, and increasing political tensions.

The Tigrayans held most of Ethiopia's political power from 1991 to 2018, when Abiy was elected. Since then, their power has waned.

Prime Minister Abiy won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for the rapid speed of his domestic reforms and for sealing a peace deal with Eritrea.

He released tens of thousands of prisoners, welcomed home once-banned opposition groups and acknowledged past abuses.

jf/dr (AP, AFP, Reuters)