Ethiopia announces ceasefire in Tigray

The Government of Ethiopia today announced a unilateral ceasefire in Tigray region to help farmers in the region use the rainy season for crop production.

The diction by the Government has come after the request is made by the Interim Administration of Tigray that replaced the TPLF (Tigray Peoples Liberation Front). The Interim Administration of Tigray has taken over the leadership of the region after TPLF went into military confrontation with the Ethiopian army last November and lost its power.

After coming to power in Ethiopia through arms struggle in May 1991, TPLF has been dominant within the four party ruling coalition – Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

The federal government of Ethiopia and TPLF went into disagreement after the latter lost its power unexpectedly when the EPRDF elected Abiy Ahmed to become its leader in April 2018 replacing the resigned Hailemariam Desalegn.

The two sides went to war when TPLF militias attacked the northern command of Ethiopian army based in Tigray in an attempt to takeover the heavy artilleries and come back to power in Ethiopia in weeks.

Meanwhile contrary to TPLF attempt in about one month Ethiopian army has ousted TPLF militias from major towns of Tigray region killing many of its political and military leaders while arresting the rest. Even though TPLF was defeated some of the remaining militias have returned to the old gorilla fighting tradition of the Front putting at risk lives of civilians in Tigray region.

Due to the fighting between the two sides, hundreds of thousands of farmers in Tigray have been displaced, while many have reportedly faced food shortage and hunger. Today’s unilateral ceasefire decision by the Prime Minister Abiy Administration is said will help the farmers to peacefully engage in farming during the current rainy season.

One of the development partner of Ethiopia including the United sates Government and many aid agencies have been calling for ceasefire in Tigray region in order to deliver food and related assistance to the civilians affected by the war. It is recalled that a few months ago the Ethiopian Parliament has recently designated the TPLF as a terrorist group.

Below is the full statement by the Government of Ethiopia

“Today (June 28, 2021), the Tigray Provisional Administration has requested the Federal Government to enact a humanitarian ceasefire in the Tigray region. The provisional administration’s request came after due consideration of the needs on the ground and following the consultations with academics, business community and religious leaders and elders from the Region.

The Federal government understands that the people of Tigray, especially those in the rural areas, have suffered greatly. Battling desert locust, the COVID19 pandemics, the displacement and interruption of farming activities due to the criminal clique’s instigation of violent conflict have left many in the region exposed to untold suffering. Thus, the Federal government believes that the current challenge in the Tigray Region needs to be addressed expeditiously given the risk of humanitarian crisis confronting our people.

Despite the Federal government’s effort to facilitate unfettered humanitarian access, humanitarian workers still face challenges to reach all areas in the region to deliver urgently needed humanitarian assistance to those in need and avert potential risk of serious food insecurity. Moreover, while efforts are underway to provide agricultural inputs to the farmers, it has been difficult to ensure that all farmers in the region are able to plant during this farming season.

It is essential that the planting season ahead is not disrupted lest farming communities will miss it with grave consequences for their livelihoods. There is also an urgent need to accelerate the return of internally displaced persons to their place of origin. This is a challenge that needs to be addressed as soon as practically possible.

In light of the foregoing, the Federal government has decided to address the above challenges in a forthright, frank, and bold manner. Accordingly, it has decided to enact a Unilateral Humanitarian Ceasefire (pause in military activities), which takes immediate effect as of today 28th June 2021 with a view to addressing the above-mentioned challenges.

The Federal government has decided to do so with the conviction that this measure will help ensure better humanitarian access and strengthen the effort to rehabilitate and rebuild the Tigray region. Therefore, all Federal and Regional civil and military institutions have been ordered to implement the ceasefire in accordance with the directions set out by the Federal Government.

However, it should be understood that this measure taken by the Federal government is in no way designed to allow impunity, as this would severely harm the cause of justice and sustainable peace. It should be abundantly clear that the Government will ensure full accountability for crimes committed, whoever might be responsible for the atrocities.

The Federal government takes this opportunity to call upon all stakeholders, both domestic and international, to assist in the full and effective implementation of the humanitarian ceasefire. The magnitude of damage caused by the enemies of peace is indeed enormous and rehabilitating the region certainly requires the concerted effort of all stakeholders.

The Federal government would also like to underscore that the aforementioned step is being taken in recognition of its heavy responsibilities in ensuring that the people of Ethiopia work together, in order to realize a united, democratic, and prosperous Ethiopia.

The successful completion of the 6th National Elections in Ethiopia has clearly demonstrated the strong commitment of the Ethiopian people to decide on their own fate and destiny through a democratic and peaceful process. Standing in line for hours and staying late through the night, Ethiopians from all walks of life have sent a strong signal that they are ready to work together to build a stronger, united, and democratic Ethiopia, removing the seeds of discord and division sown within the Ethiopian body politic.”