Ethiopia: PM Abiy Ahmed declares state of emergency in Tigray region
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has ordered a military offensive to subdue the authorities in Tigray state, following an alleged attack on an army base.
Ahmed said the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), attacked a military base in Mekele, northern Tigray early Wednesday, and attempted to take the artillery and other equipment.
The attack resulted in “many martyrs, injuries and property damage”, he said in a TV address.
“Our defense forces … have been ordered to carry out their mission to save the country. 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,” Abiy said in a social media post.
The cabinet has declared a state of emergency in the region for six months.
The national authorities have also shut down electricity, telephone, and internet services in Tigray.
Tensions between the government and TPLF, which used to be part of the governing coalition before falling out with Mr. Abiy, have escalated in recent months, with both sides accusing the other of plotting to use military force.
The Tigrayans held most of Ethiopia’s political power from 1991 to 2018, when Abiy was elected. Since then, their power has waned.
Abiy has detained, fired, or sidelined many senior Tigrayan officials in what the federal government describes as a crackdown on corruption.