History

The Crisis in Northern Ethiopia

The Crisis in Northern Ethiopia

2020
November 4

War Begins

November 4, 2020:  While the world was focused on the American electoral contest between Biden and Trump, an armed group known as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front attacked federal troops of the Ethiopian northern command.

November 4

US Secretary of State Acknowledgement of Attack by TPLF

Mike Pompeo acknowledged the pre-meditated surprise attack by TPLF and urged immediate action to restore peace.

November 4

The “Tigray-Genocide” online campaign begins

Less than 24 hours after TPLF’s attack on the Ethiopia’s Northern Command, i.e. start of the war, a twitter campaign of #TigrayGenocide appears. The swiftness with which the mantra spreads on social media is indication of a coordinated and prepared propaganda campaign. Moreover, since there was communication blackout in Tigray at the time, the campaign is 100% organized from outside of Ethiopia.

November 5

TPLF official acknowledges “pre-emptive strike” against Ethiopian federal troops

In an interview, TPLF official, Sekuture Getachew acknowledges “lightening pre-emptive strike” against Ethiopian federal troops stationed in the Tigray region.

November 6

State Department’s Robert Codec – “TPLF Initiated War”

Despite continued denials by the TPLF, US House of Foreign Affairs Committee acknowledges TPLF as the instigator of War. In a June 29, 2021 hearing acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs, Robert F. Codec unequivocally declared TPLF as initiator of the war. 

November 9

Massacre in Mai Cadra

As confirmed by Amnesty International’s East Africa researcher, Fisseha Tekle,  hundreds of Amhara laborers were brutally murdered by retreating Tigray People’s Liberation Front youth fighters known as Samre.   Declaimer: Fesseha Tekle is reportedly related to TPLF founder and ideologue Sebhat Nega.

November 14

Rockets fired at Eritrea’s capital, Asmara

TPLF leader confirmed on Sunday that his forces had fired rockets at the airport in Eritrea’s capital, a major escalation that raises fears of a wider war in the Horn of Africa region.

November 17

U.S Secretary of State condemns rocket attack

U.S Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo condemned the rocket attack on Eritrea by  the Tigray rebels, calling it ‘an attempt to escalate and internationalize the conflict’

November 18

Eritrean Troops Enter Ethiopia’s Tigray Conflict.

Eritrea moves from playing supportive role to full on participant in support of Ethiopia’s armed forces.

November 27

Another Round of Rockets Launched

In what appears to be a last ditch effort to internationalize the conflict, as well as draw attention away from successive defeats in weeks past, TPLF militants fire 2nd round of rockets targeting Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. Rockets landed in residential areas of the city.

November 28

Ethiopia’s Army Enters City of Mekelle as Rebeles flee

After weeks of intense fighting, Ethiopia’s armed forces reach the city of Mekelle, as top ranking TPLF leaders flee west towards the mountainous Tembein region.  On November 30, 2020,  prime minister Abiy Ahmed  briefed parliament on military operations leading up….

November 28

The Imposter Priest & The Axum Massacre

Priest Woldemariam appears on dramatic video alleging to be witness to a massacre that took place in the northern Ethiopian city of Axum. It would later be revealed that the priest has never been to Axum. Furthermore, his real name is Michael Berhe and he resides in Boston where the video was produced. Yet based on this false claim Amnesty International ran an investigation and CNN did a story. The..

November 30

Axum Saint Mary Zion Annual Ceremony

Despite claims of massacre by the hundreds in and around Axum, the annual ceremony of Saint Mary Zion in the town goes as planned with thousands gathered.

December 14

CCTV footage shows TPLF men disabling Ethio Telecom network

CCTV footage made public by Ethio-Telecom shows TPLF men disabling telecommunications network hub located in Mekelle, causing a communication blackout in Tigray region on the night of Novermber 3, 2020, hours prior to surprise attack on the country’s northern command.

December 25

TPLF’s Ouster and The New Information War

After the TPLF leadership was ousted from Mekelle the ENDF controlled  all major towns, roads, bridges and strategic zones in Tigray, as federal government facilitated humanitarian aid to civilians. Despite this, pressure from the “international community” against the GoE on humanitarian grounds was unrelenting, and seemingly aimed at helping TPLF recover. Mainstream media outlets, humanitarian orgs, NGO, officials from the US, UK, and EU adapt a similar tone in pressuring..

2021
January 4

Ethiopia Federal Government Aid Distribution

Ethiopia’s government coordinates aid distribution in the Tigray region recently liberated from TPLF militants. Despite these efforts, little attention is given by the mainstream international media. On the contrary, a steady stream of negative coverage and criticism of GoE overwhelms the discourse. A narrative of vilification awaits the government in Addis Ababa.

January 8

Founder of TPLF Surrenders

The founder and acting advisor of TPLF, Sibhat Nega alongside close comrades and family  surrendered peacefully to ENDF. He would later receive an executive pardon, and now resides in Addis Ababa.

January 13

Key Figures Killed

Senior TPLF leaders who organized and plotted the attack on Ethiopia’s northern command killed in the northern Tembein mountains. Brigadier General Tesfaye Ayalew confirmed Abay Tsehaye, Seyoum Mesfin, and Asmelash Woldeselassie were killed in their hideout during battle.

February 8

Humanitarian Aid Facilitation

“UN agencies received approval from the Ethiopian Government for 25 international agencies and NGOs to provide humanitarian assistance inside the country’s conflict-torn Tigray region”, the UN Spokesperson said on Monday.  Moreover, Mr. Beasley of the WFP has just wrapped up a trip to Ethiopia, stating  “WFP has accepted the Government’s request to help authorities and aid partners transport aid into and within Tigray”….

March 9

Telecom restoration in Parts of Tigray

Ethio-telecom announces restoration of phone and internet services in parts of Tigray where electric power had been restored.  Federal government stated restoration of services made difficult by active fighting by militants of the TPLF in some areas.

March 18

Ethiopia’s Notorious Intelligence Chief Dies After a Long Illness

Elusive intelligence chief, Getachew Assefa, notorious for torture and extrajudicial killings during the TPLF-led regime in Ethiopia( 1991-2018) dies from illness while on the run.

March 26

Eritrea Begins Troop Withdrawal

After months of active involvement, and mounting international pressure, Eritrean troops begin to withdraw from Tigray region of Ethiopia. The announcement came the same day Ethiopia’s prime minister acknowledged the involvement of the Eritrean Defense Forces to parliament. The full withdrawal would take weeks after initial announcement.

April 1

Mehabere Dego Killings

Leaked video shows what seems to be the extrajudicial killing of civilians on a cliff top near the town of Mehabere Dego in the Tigray Region. The perpetrators appear to be soldiers of the Ethiopian armed forces. Pressure mounts on federal government to hold soldiers involved accountable.

April 14

Pressure from US, UK, and EU

Months of mounting pressure on Ethiopia’s federal government to withdraw troops and cease fighting in the northern Tigray region reach a crescendo. By now Ethiopia northern crisis has become the weekly agenda of the security council and this would be the 5th time that Council members have discussed Ethiopia since the crisis erupted. However, numerous attempts to sanction Ethiopia are vetoed by Russia, China, as well as India.

May 28

U.S Threatens to Sanction Ethiopia

Citing humanitarian concerns, the U.S threatens to sanction Ethiopia unless swift action is taken to end the conflict. This coming after months of pressure on Ethiopia.

June 21

Election Day

After being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ethiopia’s general election resumed.  Nearly 38 million would cast their vote peacefully in what has been touted the freest in the nation’s history. Fears of another delay due to the conflict in the Tigray region were overcome as voters filled polling stations in the early hours of June 21, 2021.

June 28

An Immediate, Unilateral Cease-fire

Federal government announces an immediate, unilateral cease-fire in Tigray to allow better humanitarian aid access. However, reports indicate, intensified asymmetrical actions by TPLF may have contributed to final decision of ENDF withdrawal.

July 8

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) at the UN Security Council

UN Security Council convenes an in person briefing on an ongoing disagreement involving Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), under the agenda item “Peace and security in Africa”. Security Council members on Thursday backed African Union mediation efforts between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan in a dispute over the operation of a giant hydropower dam on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia, urging the parties to resume..

July 12

TPLF Ignores Ceasefire

It does not take long for the TPLF to sideline ceasefire offer.  After days of threatening statements, and localized skirmishes, Its forces attack in three directions, one going towards Gonder, second in the direction of Dessie and third towards the Djibouti. The human wave strategy which included forced civilian as cannon fodder would overwhelm thinly defended towns and cities, particularly  on the way to the city of Dessie. Despite recruiting..

July 19

2nd stage filling of GERD Complete

Despite ongoing disagreements with downstream Egypt, 2nd stage filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) was complete and the mega dam on the Blue Nile is well on the way towards generating electric power for the first time.

August 5

Residents say TPLF militants take control of UNESCO site Lalibela

Militants from Ethiopia’s Tigray region  seized Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the neighboring Amhara region famed for its 12th-century rock-hewn churches.

August 7

Galicoma Massacre

During their advance towards the Mille junction in the Afar region of Ethiopia, Tigray militants shell an IDP camp and aid warehouse located in the small town of Galicoma. Approximately 207 civilians killed, among them women and children. The story was uncovered to the outside world a week after the events.

August 8

Massacre in Agamsa

First reported by survivors, then further confirmed by Satellite images, TPLF forces first shelled then burned to the ground the small remote town of Agamsa located near Weldia in Amhara region.

August 11

OLA & TPLF Official Alliance

The “Oromo Liberation Army” (OLA) and the TPLF make their long held alliance official. Both groups have been designated as terror organizations by Ethiopia’s parliament for ethnically motivated civilian massacres and for for attempting to overturn the constitutional order by force.

August 19

Gashena to Debre Tabor

TPLF militants accused of mass atrocities as they make territorial gains in Amhara region towards the town of Debre Tabor. Lightly defended towns from Gashena to Felakit and Gasay fall to the militants.  However, logistical supply lines continue to be stretched as fighters turn to looting to make up losses. Eventually, this front would reach its end at Debre Tabor.

August 31

TPLF Fighters Loot Aid Warehouses

USAID’s Ethiopia bureau chief, Sean Jones stated, the “TPLF fighters have been looting aid warehouses in the Amhara region”. Moreover, the militants have targeted humanitarian aid delivery trucks.

September 9

Civilian Atrocities in Amhara Region

According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, Hundreds of civilians raped and executed by Tigray militants during their campaign in the Amhara region between August 31, 2021 and September 9, 2021.

September 9

Chenna Teklehaimanot Massacre

TPLF forces retreating from Gonder massacre civilians in the village of Chenna Teklehaimanot. Over 200 killed, including priests and monks of the Teklehaimanot Church.

September 17

UN Aid Trucks Go Missing

Hundreds of UN aid delivery trucks go missing in Tigray. Since July 12, 445 contracted trucks have entered Tigray, but only 38 have returned, according to WFP spokeswoman Gemma Snowdon.  Many of the trucks were taken over by Tigray militants for war effort as shown in video. The story is scantly covered by mainstream media.

October 4

Leaked UN Audio

In a leaked audio recording, Ethiopia based UN chief  of  migration, Maureen Achieng and colleague reveal the extent of TPLF infiltration in UN-led humanitarian aid efforts in Tigray. They claim, in regards to Tigray, directives to circumvent WFP-Ethiopia head office is coming from Geneva, namely, Dr. Tedros Adhanom of the World Health Organization.  Furthermore, the aim of the circumvention was to benefit TPLF’s political goals rather than humanitarian goals.  The..

October 23

Tigray Militants’ Unabated Belligerence

While US, EU and UK mount pressure on Ethiopia’s government to “end the fighting”, TPLF continues attacks in the Northern Amhara and Afar regions. Humanitarian aid distribution is seriously hampered by active conflict.

October 30

Dessie Falls

Tigray militants capture the town of Dessie after 3 months of continuous fighting. In Addis Ababa serious criticism of the war’s handling prompts parliament to convene an emergency meeting.

November 1

General Tsadkan’s Declaration

In an interview, General Tsadkan of the TPLF declared victory, stating “the war is now almost over and there is nothing to negotiate about”. On the contrary, his over stretched army is in too deep and unable to advance farther south beyond the town or Debre Sina. The way back is also closing fast as regional militias and ENDF cut off supplies and routes.

November 2

State of Emergency Declared

Parliament declared a six-month state of emergency on Tuesday after forces from the northern region of Tigray said they were gaining territory and considering marching on the capital Addis Ababa.

November 5

Transition Alliance Ridiculed

As TPLF fighters advanced in depth following the A2 highway towards Addis Ababa, anti government alliance announced by some members of the Ethiopia diaspora community.  The group seeks to be transitional body “when Addis falls to rebels”. However,  the group is ridiculed as the “Uber Drivers Alliance” by many Ethiopian Americans who view them as out of touch.

November 9

UN Security Convenes Again.

This would be the last of dozens of security council sessions regarding the conflict in Ethiopia. The U.K and U.S urge their citizens to leave Ethiopia immediately. However, most Ethiopians view these calls as part of a coordinated effort to sow more instability.

November 12

US Fears Regional Impact

As Ethiopia’s northern crisis widens, senior US General William Zana told the BBC’s Anne Soy that US troops were “here to respond to crisis”. The comments raise fears of US military intervention in Ethiopia’s internal conflict.

November 22

#NoMore Rallies Kickoff

Diaspora Ethiopians and Eritreans hold a series of mass rallies in major cities across North America and Europe to protest media disinformation as well as the Biden administration’s tacit support for TPLF’s increasingly brutal campaign to overthrow recently elected government of Ethiopia.

November 24

Ethiopia Expels Irish Diplomats

Ethiopia has ordered four of six Irish diplomats working in Addis Ababa to leave the country because of Ireland’s outspoken support for rebel groups aiming to oust government by force. By this point, Ireland had called most of the UN security council meetings regarding Ethiopia, and had earned the reputation of being pro-regime change.

November 24

Prime Minister Joins Troops

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed joins army in the fight to repel TPLF militants. This is seen as a way to galvanize troops as well as draw in more respect and loyalty among them. The last Ethiopian head of state to do something similar was Menelik II during the battle of Adwa in 1896.

November 24

A Secret Meeting Leaked.

A secretive zoom meeting leaked rips away the façade, revealing a chummy circle of foreign policy elite, both retired and still active who mostly know each other and are in sympathy with TPLF objectives… “I hope you’ll have military success fairly soon, because it seems the situation is only becoming more drastic,” said Vicki Huddleston, who was American Chargé d’Affairs ad interim in Ethiopia during years the TPLF were in..Read More

December 16

TPLF’s Retreat.

Renewed counter offensive by federal government coming in all directions as Tigray militants retreat back north into Tigray. The important strategic town of Gashena, which lies on many crossroads, and where TPLF had dug in for months was captured by ENDF and regional forces. Thousands of fighters loyal to the TPLF are either killed or captured.

December 20

Tigray Rebel Leader Announces Withdrawal

After rapid successive defeats and heavy losses in Afar as well as in the Amhara region, leader of the TPLF declares “withdrawal of fighters for humanitarian reason”.

December 23

Ethiopia’s Army Pauses Fighting

Ethiopia Federal government spokes persons announced army will not advance further into Tigray. In a statement released the prime minister’s office stated, war aims of pushing back rebel forces have been met and significant damage has been exacted on command and control of rebel forces. Ethiopian forces have been ordered to maintain the areas they have won back from the Tigray People’s Liberation Force, but not to go further into..

2022
January 1

The Great Home Coming

The Great Ethiopian Home Coming was announced, welcoming millions from the diaspora. This comes in the backdrop of doom and gloom mainstream media blitz asking foreign dignitaries to leave Ethiopia. Many in the diaspora respond to the home coming call as a way to counter the negative media narrative against their native country.

January 7

Surprise Executive Pardon

As Ethiopians celebrated Orthodox Christmas, the government announced the surprise release  from prison of some of the country’s most high-profile detainees held under insurrection and terrorism charges. The pardoned included Sibhat Nega, Eskinder Nega and Jawar Muhammed. This was a surprise move that shocked many and cost political capital. The government states “it was a good will gesture in the spirit of Christmas for national reconciliation”, although many suspect pressure..

February 4

The Scars of Lalibela

TPLF fighters who entered the ancient town of Lalibela without firing a single shot in August of 2021, leave trail of horrors as they abandoned the town following a counter offensive by Ethiopia’s army and allied local militia.

February 15

State of Emergency Lifted

Ethiopia’s cabinet on Wednesday approved the lifting of a six-month state of emergency ahead of its expiration in light of changing security conditions in the country. Spokes person for the prime minister’s offices stated “We’ve now reached a stage where threats can be neutralized through regular law enforcement mechanisms”.

April 5

Gonder – Mass Graves Discovered

University of Gonder researchers discover mass graves in the town of Dejena, where hundreds of ethnic Amhara were murdered by the TPLF during its 30 year occupation of Welkait and Humera in northwestern region of Ethiopia. The story was covered by several local news organization and independent journalists. However, much to the chagrin of Ethiopians, the story received little coverage in the international mainstream news media, which tacitly understands the..

April 6

HRW “West Tigray” Report

Human Rights Watch releases a hastily put together report that accuses Ethiopian authorities of ethnic cleansing in “Western Tigray”. Many Ethiopians view the timing of the report  as cynical  gaslighting of Amhara victims of TPLF exhumed by University of Gonder researchers a day earlier. Amhara regional government spokesperson stated  “Amhara victims viewed as unworthy by so called human rights organizations whose main mission is political rather than humanitarian”.

May 22

Inside TPLF’s Tigray

Inside TPLF’s Tigray, normalcy is a far fetched concept. The group is unable to provide basic services such as banking, telecom and water without inputs and expertise from federal government in Addis Ababa. The continued faceoff between the rebels and the government in Addis make an intractable situation. Alternative voices are brutally suppressed in Tigray where the central command is judge jury and executioner.

June 2

AU Led Peace Initiative

Olesugun Obasanjo sates his optimism in the peace process to bring an end to the conflict in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Generally, AU led effort has been slow but progressing steadily according to chief mediator Obasanjo.

July 31

Hopeful Peace Talks

The government of Ethiopia pledges to negotiate without preconditions, as U.S horn of Africa Mike Hammer arrives in Addis Ababa. However, talks are stymied due to TPLF insistence on preconditions.

August 2

U.S Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa in Mekelle

U.S Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa met with TPLF authorities in Mekelle to broker peace. However, much to the disappointment of authorities in Addis Ababa, things did not improve. In fact, TPLF’s war rhetoric increased after Envoy’s visit.

August 13

Mega Dam Filled For 3rd Time

Ethiopia proves resilience by completing Nile dam filling for the 3rd straight year and generating electricity. The occasion marks a major milestone and one that changes facts on the ground vis-à-vis dispute with downstream Egypt.

August 17

Tigray Militant Group Ridicules Peace

TPLF spokes person, Getachew Reda ridiculed peace talks with the government of Ethiopia, as the group takes on a harder tone by doubling down on preconditions to the AU-led talks. This latest development threatens to derail the hope for peace.

August 20

Government Commits to Peace

The Government of Ethiopia reaffirmed its commitment to the AU-led peace process and accused the militants in the Tigray region of “war mongering once again”. This coming in the backdrop of harder toned statements and rhetoric by TPLF officials.

August 21

Secretive Cargo Planes Deliver Weapons

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed revealed for the first time, Arms-laden Antonov cargo planes had been spotted flying from Sudan to Shire airport in northern Ethiopia, supposedly delivering weapons to TPLF militants. No further details were provided, but the PM indicated this had been happening over few months.

August 24

Ceasefire Broken Again

According to official statements, ceasefire which held since December of 2021 broke, as Tigray rebels attacked in three directions towards the towns of Bisober, Zobel, and Tekulesh.

August 24

Arms-laden plane shot down

Ethiopia’s government says it shot down arms-laden Antonov-26 cargo airplane coming across the Sudan border into Ethiopian airspace and heading into Tigray, allegedly to deliver weapons to TPLF forces.

August 24

TPLF fighters loot UN Warehouse

United Nation says “a World Food Program Warehouse in Mekelle was forcibly entered by Tigray forces, who took 12 fuel tuck tankers with 570,000 liters of fuel”.

September 2

Ex- TPLF linked UN Peacekeepers

According to a Bloomberg report, Ex-UN Peacekeepers, who were formerly stationed in Sudan’s contested region of Abiyie have joined TPLF insurgent fighters in the fight for the town of Humera, Ethiopia.  The Ex-UN Peacekeepers refused to return to Ethiopia after breakout of northern conflict, fearing prosecution for their connection to the TPLF.

September 7

TPLF’s Intercepted Shocking Radio Command

General Teklai Ashebir of TPLF heard over intercepted radio communication telling his commanders to shoot and kill anyone retreating from their rank.

September 20

Briefing with U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Mike Hammer.

U.S Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Mike Hammer stated “when I visited Mekelle on 2nd of August 2022, TPLF leaders had mentioned they were getting ready for hostilities unless federal government restored services to their stronghold region”. This is yet another acknowledgement that the group re-ignited recent outburst of conflict in Northern Ethiopia.

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