The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Thursday (local time) that the “humanitarian ceasefire” is “indefinite” and will come into force “immediately”. The aim is to “substantially improve the humanitarian situation on the ground and enable a solution to the conflict in northern Ethiopia without further bloodshed”.
According to the United Nations, a total of 9.4 million people need humanitarian aid in the three northern regions of Amhara, Afar and Tigray. The central government, but also other parties to the conflict, had repeatedly been accused of blocking them.
appeal to the rebels
“In order to maximize the success of the humanitarian ceasefire, the government calls on the insurgents in Tigray to refrain from any further acts of aggression and to withdraw from areas they have occupied in neighboring regions,” the Addis Ababa statement said.
Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed has been accused of a de facto blockade of Tigray in recent months. William Davison, Ethiopia expert at the International Crisis Group research group, described the humanitarian ceasefire as an “important step”. However, it is crucial that the promise is implemented quickly, Davison emphasized. The delivery of humanitarian aid is “crucial” to the people of Tigray, who have not received any such assistance since December.
Conflict killing thousands and fleeing millions
The military conflict between the Ethiopian central government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) began in November 2020. It has since spread to Tigray’s neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar.
According to the UN, thousands of people have been killed and more than two million others have been forced to flee since the fighting began. The United Nations accuses all parties to the conflict of serious human rights violations. Millions of people in Tigray and neighboring regions are dependent on food aid, according to the World Food Program (WFP). According to the UN, humanitarian aid deliveries to Tigray have so far been blocked.
In the second largest country in Africa in terms of population with 115 million inhabitants, the conflicts in several parts of the country have led to a serious economic and humanitarian crisis. The USA and the EU have cut aid, the annual inflation rate was around 35 percent in 2021.
mak/cw (dpa, afp, epd)