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Alert: Act before a Human Catastrophe Transpires in Ethiopia

Alert: Act before a Human Catastrophe Transpires in Ethiopia


Yikuno Amlak



Ethiopia is now at a crossroads. The war between the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF), the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) and other oppressed groups on the one hand, and the Ethiopian and Eritrean armies, and their allied regional forces on the other, is reaching a turning point—the total defeat and possible collapse of the Abiy regime appear to be imminent.


The Abiy dictatorial and criminal regime has declared state of emergency; the leader has also called upon the Ethiopian public, including residents of the capital, Addis Ababa to prepare to ‘bury’ the advancing forces. Facebook barred him for ‘inciting violence’ like that of his role model and mentor, Donald Trump.


Most worrisome is the renewed campaign of mass arrests, searches and abuses against ethnic Tigrayans in Addis Ababa and other major cities following the recent declaration of the state of emergency.


However, unless something is done as soon as practicable, the situation in Addis Ababa and other major cities could easily deteriorate and become out of control; in addition to the grave risk to Tigrayan civilians who are in various concentration camps and their homes inside the capital, catastrophic clashes between the Oromos and Amharas cannot be ruled out.  


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The international community has continued to fail Ethiopians and humanity with respect to this conflict. The UN is engaged in putting salt into the wounds of victims of serious war crimes, crimes against humanity and potentially the crimes of genocide by issuing a joint report on the abuses perpetrated in the Tigray conflict. To say the least, the report failed the basic tests of impartiality and objectivity. 


Some countries such as Turkey, Iran, China and Russia continued to arm and finance the criminal regime of Abiy Ahmed, while western powers are pre-occupied with condemning and calling upon both sides to halt the war. Of course, the US and the EU has taken moderate economic and other measures. 


Foreign embassies and other UN agencies appear to be more concerned about evacuating their citizens and workers than doing something to prevent possible atrocities and abuses in Addis and other locations of Ethiopia. The outcomes of last minute endeavour of the US to bring about a peaceful resolution of this dangerous situation remains to be seen.


This alert urges the international community to act swiftly to prevent human catastrophe in Addis Ababa and elsewhere in the country. It is most likely that the regime in Addis will collapse soon, hence the need for this call upon Supper Powers, the UN, and others to consider the following:


1)   Ask Abiy Ahmed to resign and leave Ethiopia as soon as possible for the country and his own sake. This way, the tension between the government and its allies and the advancing forces can be eased and reasonably managed. The regime in Addis is no longer in control of the situation (including its own allies) and cannot be part of a de-escalation effort or a peaceful transition project in the country. [Un]fortunately, negotiated political settlement between the two sides does not seem to be feasible at this moment in time. Giving even a day to the Abiy regime would only results in more deaths, displacement and gross human rights abuses, nothing else. 

2)   Facilitate a relatively peaceful handover of the capital, Addis Ababa to the TDF and OLA. It must be emphasized that both forces should enter the city together, preferably before, and if not immediately following the most likely full collapse of the Abiy regime. The narrative that the TPLF is hated by Ethiopians and therefore should not advance or enter the capital is neither credible (as seen in Dessie, Kombolcha and Kemisse cities of the Amhara region) nor acceptable. TDF’s cause, mission and representation are different from the old (or new) agenda of the TPLF. The Abiy regime must go for good if Ethiopia is to return to normalcy and undertake a peaceful political transition.  

3)   Urge remnants of the Ethiopian and Eritrean armies, the federal police and the special forces of the Oromia region to not position themselves inside of the city and the air force to cease its operations against Tigray, Amhara and Afar cities and towns without delay. 

4)   Urge the advancing forces to avoid any potential fight in Addis Ababa and other major cities and towns; and they must be commended for doing so in the fight they have done thus far.

5)   Put pressure on the remnants of the Eritrean army and security forces and other foreign advisers/mercenaries to leave Ethiopia urgently for their own and the country’s sake. Taking more action against the decaying Eritrean regime is also crucial to maintain peace in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa region.

6)   Make concrete demands and arrangements to protect city civilians, particularly Tigrayans who are at grave risks. Not only that; the renewed state-sponsored abuses against them should immediately be ceased but also those who are held in several concentration camps and detention facilities outside and inside Addis be protected from any danger to their lives and dignity.

7)   Work for empowering the city police to continue its day-to-day police duty to protect city residents from organised and other crimes and halting unjustified and ethnic based abuses in the name of searches and security measures.

8)   Help, and to the extent possible protect, key services of the city such as electricity, water, telephone, and internet facilities.

9)   Warn and take appropriate action to stop mob justice and detaining civilians on ethnic or political grounds by all sides until a proper and lawful transitional process begins. In this regard, global internet and satellite providers must not allow Ethiopian/Eritrean extremists to post and agitative hateful messages utilising tv, social media and other modes of communication.  Governments and inter-governmental organisations must keep an eye on tv stations such as ESAT that called for the extinction of Tigrayans in the past. And

10)                If all these become not viable and a full-scale armed confrontation is likely in Addis and other major cities, concerned and like-minded countries from Africa and the rest of the world must consider deploying a peacekeeping or peace enforcement force to Addis Ababa to provide protection to civilians, civilian facilities, diplomatic and inter-governmental sites.


Ignoring this alert and the demands therein would amount to condoning the risks of human catastrophe in Ethiopia’s capital and other localities, and would also complete the appalling failure of the international community to undertake its responsibility to protect civilians since the war began in early November, 2020.  Act before your inexcusable failure gets completed!


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