The African Union Commission urged de-escalation Wednesday of the military conflict between Ethiopia and Tigray People’s Liberation-Zamkuwire
The African Union Commission urged de-escalation Wednesday of the military conflict between Ethiopia and Tigray People’s Liberation Front forces that are in control of the northernmost region of Tigray.
The request came after confirmation by the government and rebels that a new war has erupted in areas bordering the Tigray region after a lull in fighting since March owing to a unilateral humanitarian cease-fire declared by the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
“The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, deeply concerned at reports of renewed military confrontation in Ethiopia, urges de-escalation,” according to a statement by the Commission.
Moussa Faki Mahamat reiterated the “African Union’s continued commitment to work with the parties in support of a consensual political process in the interest of the country.”
Mahamat urged parties to the conflict to engage with the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The government has expressed a readiness to engage in talks with the rebels in the past several months without any pre-conditions as long as they are held under the sole mediation of the African Union.
But the Tigray rebels rejected the African Union as a mediator, recommending that talks be held with Kenyan outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta as mediator.
After the eruption of war Tuesday, the two sides are trading blame for having initiated the new escalation.
Thousands, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced since the conflict began in November 2020, with the UN blaming both sides for deaths.
The UN has warned that Tigray “stands on the edge of a humanitarian disaster,” with more than 40% of the region’s estimated 6 million people in need of emergency assistance.
It also said more than 5 million people were internally displaced in Afar and Amhara regional states where the Tigray People’s Liberation Front forces made military incursions a year ago inflicting huge humanitarian and property damage.