Africa’s second most populous country is in the midst of an increasingly rocky political transition that began in 2018, with the ascent of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. At first, the change seemed to hold great promise, but fissures have grown, partly between and among the country’s numerous ethnic groups. At stake is the state’s stability and the post-1991 ethno-federalist system, which many Ethiopians support as guaranteeing local autonomy, and many others oppose as sowing division and undermining effective central government. War between the federal and Tigray governments broke out in the northern region in late 2020 as these tensions came to the fore. Through its research and advocacy, Crisis Group works to end the fighting and ward off similar conflict elsewhere, with the long-term goal of encouraging comprehensive and inclusive national dialogue about the country’s political future.

CrisisWatch Ethiopia

Deteriorated Situation

Hostilities escalated between Tigray and Amhara forces over disputed territories, displacing thousands; insurgencies in Amhara and Oromia regions continued.

Tigray-Amhara clashes over disputed territories displaced thousands. As govt began implementing plan to address Tigray-Amhara territorial dispute (which paves way for return of displaced Tigrayans), hostilities escalated in disputed areas. Tigray forces and Amhara militants 13-15 April clashed in Alamata town and Raya Alamata, Zata and Olfa woredas of Southern Tigray Zone, displacing almost 50,000. Tigray interim President Getachew Reda 16 April blamed “anti-Pretoria deal elements”, while Amhara authorities next day accused Tigray region’s ruling party Tigray People’s Liberation Front of launching “full-scale war” against Amhara. Calm returned to area, though violence could resurge should federal govt proceed with plans to resettle people displaced from Southern or Western Tigray regions.

Security forces and Fano militants clashed in capital Addis Ababa. Security forces and Fano militants 12 April clashed in Addis Ababa, marking first such incident in capital, killing civilian and two militants; authorities accused Fano of planning “terrorist attack”. Meanwhile, violence continued in Amhara as authorities struggled to suppress Fano, who are scattered across region and enjoy considerable local support. Notably, grenade attack on school in Finote Selam town, West Gojjam Zone, 4 April injured at least 27; grenade 6 April targeted market in Finote Selam; three hand grenade attacks 22 April occurred in regional capital Bahir Dar. 

Insurgency in Oromia continued. Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) militants 4 April attacked Amaye Woreda, West Shewa Zone, killing twelve Amhara civilians. Govt forces same day killed twenty civilians in Tole Woreda, South West Shewa Zone, accusing them of links to OLA. Govt attempted to weaken OLA by: calling on fighters to surrender and reintegrate; attempting to exploit alleged divisions in OLA leadership; and training local militias. 

In other important developments. Donor conference 16 April raised $630mn for emergency relief in Ethiopia. Somalia 4 April announced expulsion of Ethiopian ambassador, ordered closure of two Ethiopian consulates in Somaliland and Puntland and recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia over Addis’ plans to build naval base in Somaliland (see Somalia).

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In The News

2 ธ.ค. 2022
Any serious failure in implementing the agreements [between Ethiopia's federal government and Tigrayan leaders] raises the risks of a disastrous return to large-scale war... Reuters

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
10 พ.ย. 2022
The deal [with Tigrayan leaders] was a huge diplomatic and political victory for the [Ethiopian] federal government. GZERO

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
1 ก.ย. 2022
Now Tigrayan reports ... of a large-scale incursion into Tigray from the north by Eritrean and federal forces. So, it is evident that the conflict is now seriously escala... VOA

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia

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William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
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