Ethiopia: Tigray conflict escalating

The conflict in the Ethiopian region of Tigray is spreading across the country. Hundreds of thousands have already fled the violence and around 400,000 people are already in acute danger of starvation. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has called on the population to stop the rebels in the north: 'There are sacrifices to be made' to 'salvage' Ethiopia, he declared on Twitter. How should the international community respond?

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La Repubblica (IT) /

From Nobel Peace laureate to war monger

La Repubblica is saddened by the transformation of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed:

“It is astonishing to witness a drama unfold in which this man is both leading protagonist and victim. Two years ago he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and now he is waging a merciless war which is implicating and impacting the civilian population. Within two years he has gone from embracing rivals, opponents and potential rebels to wreaking military destruction on his enemies; from pushing for reform and liberalisation to defending the state, which in his eyes is threatened by disintegration; and from basking in the approval of African and international colleagues to a position of isolation.”

El País (ES) /

A breeding ground for terrorism

El País fears for the stability of the region:

“Ethiopia is one of the few countries in the world that grants its 'nations, nationalities and peoples' the right to self-determination and even secession. But it's clear that the Tigrayan and Oromo nationalist movements are not following the established legal path but have taken up arms against the national government. Apart from its tragic toll, this war is also a new destabilising and fragmenting factor in the strategic region of the Horn of Africa, a breeding ground for numerous ethnic guerrillas and Islamist terrorism.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Exert maximum pressure to overcome hatred

The international community must push for talks, The Guardian warns:

“Mr Abiy could offer to restore vital services such as telecommunications and electricity to Tigray and do the utmost to facilitate aid in exchange for a halt in the Tigrayan advance. But emboldened Tigrayan commanders now seem less willing than ever to pause, while Mr Abiy seems to believe that a weak hand means he must press on. While leaders refuse to talk, civilians face tragedy. ...Governments must exert maximum pressure not only upon the warring parties but also upon social media platforms to prevent the fomenting of hatred.”