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Objectives of Starving Tigray: Confession of the Ethiopian Regime

Objectives of Starving Tigray: Confession of the Ethiopian Regime


Isaac M. 01-06-22


The spokesperson of the Ethiopian regime, Mr Legesse Tulu confessed, without any hesitation and endeavour of hiding his regime’s agenda, that their policy of starving and sieging Tigray is meant to defeat the ‘terrorist’ TPLF;  he publicly said that such an illegal siege can only be lifted if, and only if, the people of Tigray rises up to dispose of that political organisation. This is a confirmation of a deliberate practice of using starvation as a means of war in Northern Ethiopia by the Ahmed’s regime, which is an obvious breach of International Humanitarian Law (IHL).


Mr Tulu made several remarks that require the attention of the international community: First, ‘the reason why the Ethiopian defence force was ordered to not enter Tigray and stationed where it is now is to give a second chance to the Tigray people, a chance which was wasted in the first round of opportunity given to it by the State, to reflect and ditached itself from the terrorist force and protect its rights and privileges’.


This is clearly blaming the people of Tigray for not using what the regime calls a first round of reflection and opportunity to get rid of the TPLF given to it when the regime’s forces left Mekelle in summer 2020. As a matter of fact, the regime left Tigray simply because it was defeated by the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF). Thousands of its soldiers were captured (along their heavy artilleries and other weaponries), killed and wounded in the Tembein area, which led to the hasty departure of the Ethiopian and Eritrean forces from most of the Tigray region.

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Whether the regime’s narrative is right or wrong, blaming Tigrayans as a people and threatening them for not rising up against their political leaders is morally and politically wrong. Who empowered the regime to blame the Tigray people and choose their wish of aligning with, or distancing themselves from, any political force? Only fascists and despotic regimes, such as Nazi Germany and Mussolini of Italy, empower themselves to blame and target a people.


Secondly, Mr Tulu admits that ‘the State understands that people of Tigray have numerous socio-economic challenges …and the State is ready to be part of addressing them’.  


At face value, this sounds positive. Yet the mouthpiece of the regime added that ‘if the rights and privileges of the people are to be honoured, the Tigray people must stop the war monger terrorist group that does not sustain without war and the use of child soldiers. 


He boldly asserts, in addition to the above unfounded blame and unjustified call, that ‘the people must not only oppose the terrorist group’s deeds but also ought to start to fight it’.


This is a clear confession of the regime’s policy of siege is to defeat the rival forces by using the people of Tigray as hostages and starvation as a weapon. The regime has made it abundantly clear that unless the people of Tigray fight the ‘terrorist’ Tigray forces and their leadership, their suffering and collective punishment would continue.


Astonishingly, the regime is telling the world that the solution for the Tigray starvation and siege is in the hands of the people themselves, as if it was the people who have blocked humanitarian aid, banking, telephone, electricity and water services for itself. Put it simply, this is a call for surrender of the people of Tigray; unless they stand with the regime, as per this call, their total blockage remains.


The international community must tell the regime in unequivocal terms that sieges that cause starvation and blockages that cause starvation are grave violations of international public law and must be terminated without any deferral or condition.


And thirdly, the regime’s spokesperson who will be remembered for centuries as a messenger of a regime that have used starvation as a weapon conveyed the call of his regime ‘on Tigrayans in and outside Ethiopia to contribute to rebuilding Tigray and solve the plight of the Tigray people’.


Again, this appears to be a normal call by a state on its own citizens, but it is not, sadly. As the world knows, tens of thousands of Tigrayans in Addis Ababa and other parts of Ethiopia have been detained and held in prison centres in an appalling condition. They have been subjected to a systematic corrupt practice so as to weaken them economically and socially.


Diaspora Tigrayans have also been levelled as ‘junta’ and enemy of the state-by-State officials and their extremist backers.


In such circumstances, and if the regime wishes to change its already tarnished image before the world community, it has to take the following measures:


(a), opening up unhindered and full humanitarian access (to food, medicine, money, fuel, etc) to Tigray so that the deaths of children, mothers and the elderly are stopped immediately.


(b), opening up civilian services, in particular banking, telecommunication, electricity and water services in Tigray.


(c), releasing the tens of thousands of Tigrayan civilians from concentration camps immediately and without any condition – don’t expose tens of thousands of Tigrayan families to torture, all forms of inhumane treatment and corrupt practices, which is destroying the lives of tens of hundreds of families.


 (d), ceasing drone and air force attacks against civilians and their targets (such as cities and towns and power facilities) in Tigray. In recent days alone, hundreds of civilians have been killed and maimed as a result of drone attacks across the region. While attacking them, the regime should not expect them to antagonise with the Tigray leadership.  And


(e) restoring UN, other humanitarian organisations and the international media’s presence in Tigray to tell the world what is happening in there and be part of the solution.


The regime must be reminded that even the Derg was willing to enter into humanitarian assistance arrangements with the rebel group of Tigray more than 30 years ago. Why do your prosperity, humanity and love slogans vanish? It has to act before it is too late. Once tens of thousands of Tigrayans die because of manmade hunger the regime won’t be forgiven by Tigrayans forever. 


In the meantime, the international community:


(i)          must not condone ethnic cleansing and genocide through starvation and a total siege in Tigray and against Tigrayans. What the regime has told us through his minister yesterday reaffirms the policy reasons behind the Tigray siege and starvation. It is to defeat its enemy. This is a crime that must not be tolerated.

(ii)         it has to stop mass arrests; drone strikes against civilians and civilian targets.

(iii)       Should understand that unless an immediate action is taken to compel the regime to break the siege, tens of thousands of people will perish due to hunger and the war will continue indefinitely. Tigrayans will fight for their survival, which comes with huge implications for regional and human security. And

(iv)       Should stand with the people of Tigray, and not with the despotic criminal regimes of Ethiopia and Eritrea and other extremist forces, that have been committing atrocities, systemic rape, wanton destruction of wealth and starvation in Tigray.

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