Ethiopia shuts banks in Tigray after “TPLF robbery”

The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has closed all banks branches in Tigray Region of Ethiopia following “robbery by the armed group, Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF)”.

The NBE, which is in charge of regulating the financial system of the country stated that it has ordered all 616 bank branches found in Tigray Region to stop the daylight robbery launched by TPLF. NBE urged the public in Tigray Region to protect the banks and their money from the robbers.
The statement of NBE came following the outbreak of military clash between the federal government of Ethiopia and militia of TPLF, which has been in charge of Tigray Region for the past three decades.

After coming to power in 1991 through arms struggle, the TPLF, which claims to represent some 5% of Ethiopia’s around 110 million population, has been in power in Ethiopia until the ruling coalition unexpectedly elected Abiy Ahmed as its new leader. The ruling coalition Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) was a brainchild of TPLF, which is established by four political parties including TPLF.

After coming to power the EPRDF introduced a new constitution, new regional map, and ethnic politics in Ethiopia. The Oromo party now led by Abiy Ahmed, the Amhara party of Deputy Prime Minister & Foreign Affairs Demeke Mekonnen and the Southern party used to be led by Hailemariam Desalegn the resigned Prime Minister leading to election of Abiy Ahmed, were the members of the ruling coalition (EPRDF) until Abiy Ahmed is elected in April 2018 ending the dominance of the TPLF led by Debretsion Gebremichael (Dr.) in Ethiopian politics.

Then based on the previous years decision of EPRDF, Prime Minister turned the coalition into a single ruling party – Prosperity Party, bringing aboard the neglected political parties, which have been in charge of peripheral regions of Ethiopia namely – Somali, Afar, Gambella, Harari and Benishangul Gumz.

Upon coming to power supported with protests in different parts of Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abiy apologized for the inhuman crimes, tortures, which involves harsh treatment of prisoners, human rights abuses committed by the coalition, which was dominated by the TPLF.

Meanwhile, TPLF old guards refused to accept the leadership of Abiy Ahmed and has been at loggerheads with the federal government, which accuses them of orchestrating various killings of innocent people in different parts of Ethiopia using extreme elements such as Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) Shene.

As part of the continued tension, TPLF recently has conducted regional election refusing to accept the federal government parliament decision to postpone the election because of the global pandemic, COVID-19.

And about a week ago, TPLF hardliners, of which most are in the wanted list by the federal government for torture and grand corruption, have refused to welcome a new army commander the federal government appointed for the federal military based in Tigray Region, which has protecting the people for the past two decades following the war between Ethiopia and the neighboring Eritrea.

Not long after this incident, on Tuesday evening the TPLF reportedly opened fire to control the artilleries of the federal army in Tigray. This has forced the federal government to launch what it said a defensive measure, which now turned into offensive one.

Yesterday (Sunday) the army of Ethiopia has reported fully controlling the border that links Tigray region with the neighboring country – Sudan. The news has proven wrong the worries of international observers who claimed that the operation of Ethiopian government in Tigray could turn into a regional crisis.

Now the hardliners of the TPLF, sandwiched within Mekele and the surrounding, have begun calling for the international community to save them from being captured by using their former members and affiliates, which reportedly includes children and family members of TPLF leaders living abroad, the current head of World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom and Oromo extremists supporters living in the diaspora who often appear on the international media outlets as analysts.

Following the military operations of the federal government most of the international media such as, Al Jazeera English, BBC, Reuters, Guardian, etc have rushed into conclusion Ethiopia’s heading to civil war and regional instability only relying a few individuals comment who live abroad like the two reports by Al Jazeera and The Mail & Guardian, which quoted same person living abroad who is very much fallen in love with Oromo extremists.

In what looks a direct response to a wrong conclusion of these analysts, “Concerns that Ethiopia will descend into chaos are unfounded & a result of not understanding our context deeply.Our rule of law enforcement operation, as a sovereign state with the capacity to manage its own internal affairs, will wrap up soon by ending the prevailing impunity,” Prime Minister Abiy twitted this morning.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on his message to the international community indicated that the purpose of the military operation in Tigray region is like that of similar operations taken by the army to bring law and constitutional order in parts of Ethiopia such as, Somali Region and Wellega area in Oromia Region.

He stressed that TPLF hardliners have crossed the red line when they massacred Ethiopian soldiers trying to rob the artilleries in Tigray on Tuesday and the operation will be concluded by bringing the extremist leaders of TPLF.

Former Ethiopian army military members are suggesting that with the current advancement of Ethiopian army, the interim administration of Tigray is expected to take power in a few weeks or a month. They expect that within a few more weeks the extreme leaders of TPLF will either be surrendered and face justice for their crimes or be killed fighting to the last minute as they have nowhere to go sandwiched on the northside by Eritrea, from and west the federal army and Amhara militia on the Southern part.