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Truce announced after Ethiopia and Tigray two year war

by Ezekiel J. Walker
Truce announced after Ethiopia and Tigray two year war
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A surprise deal has been reached in Ethiopia as members on both sides of its civil war agree to halt their two-year conflict which led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and warnings of a famine.

Just over a week after formal peace talks mediated by the African Union (AU) began in the South African capital Pretoria, delegates from Tigray and Ethiopia have signed an agreement on a “permanent cessation of hostilities.”

The war stems from a catastrophic breakdown in relations between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a guerrilla movement turned political party which dominated Ethiopia for 27 years, and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who was once part of their ruling coalition but whose appointment in 2018 ended the TPLF’s dominance.

Escalating tensions in 2018-20, including over Abiy’s peace deal with the TPLF’s sworn enemy Eritrea, and the TPLF’s decision to defy him by holding regional elections in Tigray that he had postponed nationwide, tipped the parties into war.

The war in Ethiopia has had a devastating and crippling effect on the country. Almost 90% of people in the northern Tigray region need food aid, the World Health Organization says. The agreement between the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan forces should allow aid deliveries to resume.

About a third of the region’s children are suffering from malnutrition. Although it’s a major breakthrough, it’ll be received with some degree of caution.

According to Reuters, an agreement had not been expected so soon. Earlier on Wednesday, the AU had invited media to what it described as a briefing by Olusegun Obasanjo, head of the AU mediation team, at a ceremony. It was only when the event began that it became clear a truce was about to be signed.

“This moment is not the end of the peace process. Implementation of the peace agreement signed today is critical for its success,” said Obasanjo, adding that this would be supervised and monitored by a high-level AU panel.

Obasanjo, who stepped down as Nigeria’s president in 2007 and has since mediated conflicts across Africa, praised the process as an African solution to an African problem.

Prime Minister Ahmed expressed gratitude to Obasanjo and other mediators on the conclusion of the peace talks, saying in a statement the government’s commitment to the implementation of the agreement was strong.

According to minutes of a Tigray Emergency Coordination Center meeting on Oct. 21, seen by the AP, health workers reported 101 civilians killed by drone strikes and airstrikes, and 265 injured, between Sept. 27 and Oct. 10 alone.

As many as 500,000 people had died as a result of war-related violence and famine by late 2022. In 2021, Ethiopia reported 5.1 million internally displaced people in 12 months. This, according to a report, is the highest number internally displaced in any country in any single year. Millions more have fled to Sudan as northern Ethiopia, especially Tigray, remains cut off from food, water and medical aid.

In Washington, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said the United States remained committed to supporting an African-led peace process for Ethiopia.

Information in this article was obtained via France 24BBC, The Conversation, and Reuters.

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