The Tigray crisis in Ethiopia has recently escalated into a national emergency, though the issue has a long history of tension:
- Much of the nation’s governing body of the last three decades was of Tigray ethnicity, and the region has always held an important role in Ethiopia’s economy.
- In 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was elected as a reformist leader, and the former Tigray rulers were relieved of their duties.
- Abiy’s new government accused former officials of corruption and human rights abuses, and removed key TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) leaders from the central government.
- Ever since, the TPLF has worked in contention against Prime Minister Abiy, even to the point of carrying out recent attacks on federal military bases and holding their own separate elections.
- The government has responded by sending forces to the region to fight against the TPLF and suppress their opposition.
- This fighting has driven thousands of civilians to flee as refugees into the neighboring country of Sudan.
Though this situation has intensified and stoked fears of a possible civil war, many believe it will resolve quickly. We met with Ethiopian local leaders Aschalew Abebe and Eyerusalem (Jerry) Haile to gain their perspective on the conflict and assess any risks to the communities we partner with in Ethiopia. The leaders expressed their fears for the greater good of their country, and their sadness at the conflict that has arisen, but gave assurances that the conflict will not affect the regions in which we work, nor the effectiveness of the actual work being done. The conflict is over 700km away from the capital, Addis Ababa, and even further away from any of our partner communities.
We continue to pray, along with our leaders and friends, for peace and stability in Ethiopia. While this conflict does not affect our work, we pray for the healing and restoration of all Ethiopians and their communities. We will continue to stay connected with the local leaders we partner with and provide updates on how we can continue to pray and help in any way.
Bagara Ingenebalen (Together We Build),
The Help One Now Team