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The 2018 election of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, an Oromo, resulted in the freeing of political prisoners and devolution of power from the federal government in Addis Ababa to ethnically dominated state governments. Minorities within Ethiopian regions were not protected from ethnic regional militias. Over one million people were displaced due to ethnic violence between 2018 and 2020.
In 2019 Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for settling Ethiopia’s long conflict with Eritrea. However, within Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed is struggling against the centripetal forces that are inherent in the ethnic regional structure of the Ethiopian federal system.
Tigrayans in the Amhara and Oromia regions claim that other ethnic groups have looted and destroyed Tigrayan businesses and homes. Prime Minister Ahmed fired many Tigrayan ex-officials on corruption charges, which Tigrayans cite as ethnic persecution.
On November 1, 2020, at least 54 people from the Amhara ethnic group were killed in massacres by terrorists from the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Prime Minister’s term was extended and national elections were postponed. The TPLF objected to Ethiopia’s delayed elections and Abiy Ahmed’s extended time in office.
In September 2020, Tigrayans voted in regional elections that Ethiopia’s government declared illegal. The federal government bypassed the TPLF regional government to directly fund local governments.
Tigrayan militias have 250,000 men under arms that are equipped with heavy weaponry. The Ethiopian federal government has one of its largest military bases in Tigray. On November 4, 2020, Tigrayan militias attempted to seize weapons from the Ethiopian military base.
On November 4, 2020, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared an “unexpected war” on the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Force (TPLF) in Tigray state. On November 6, the Ethiopian Air Force bombed bases of the TPLF.
Genocide Watch is updating its Genocide Emergency Alert on Ethiopia due to this war.
Genocide Watch now considers Ethiopia to be at Stage 9: Extermination.
Genocide Watch recommends:
· The U.S., E.U., and other providers of weaponry to Ethiopia should cut off weapons sales.
· The U.N., African Union, and the U.S. should offer to broker a ceasefire between the parties in Ethiopia and bring them to the negotiation table to end this incipient civil war.
· The genocidal intent and atrocities committed by the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) should be condemned and the perpetrators of the massacres of Amharas should be brought to justice.
· The Ethiopian Constitution should be amended to remove the right of secession of ethnic regions, to prohibit regional militias, and to strengthen the federal government.
· Ethiopian diasporas in the U.S. and Europe should stop sending money to support the ethnic war.