Last year in November, we sent out a prayer request with a note on Ethiopia’s ongoing conflict. And this is to give you an update on what is going on and request that you intensify those prayers at this critical time.
The situation in Ethiopia is still murky. The main conflict is happening in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray between the government forces and the rebel group called the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). There are also other rebel groups such as the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) who have formed some kind of alliance with the TPLF to fight the government in the Oromia region which covers the central, western and southern parts of the country. The OLA does not engage the government directly in battle but they use guerrilla warfare as their strategy and attack civilian facilities mostly. This has resulted in massacres of civilians and all forms of atrocities. Since they mostly operate in the countryside, people feel insecure and migrate to cities and towns which has resulted in over congestion and high cost of living in cities.
There has been a significant shift in the two-year-long all-out-war in the north. The conflict erupted in August when the TPLF forces invaded the Amhara region border town of Kobo dislodging the government forces. Then the government mobilized its forces for the counterattack. They have since captured many towns and vast areas in the Tigray region from the rebels and seem to be closing-in on the region’s capital Mekele. It may appear that the end is in sight but it is very tricky to conclude so because of the many variables and different local and international actors involved. As we speak, the two sides have sent their representatives to South Africa for AU-led negotiations. The whole nation is hoping that some kind of workable solution for peace will come out of the negotiation but that is hard to say again because of the many variables and interests.
There are two possible but unfortunate scenarios if the negotiation fails. One, the government may overrun the rebel forces and control the whole region fully which may push the rebels to guerrilla warfare (which they are known for) and perpetuate the suffering of our people. The government may “win” the war but winning the peace is something else. The second scenario is the UN or other foreign governments may attempt a military intervention that will provoke a bigger war with multiple fronts which in turn will plunge the entire horn of African region into chaos.
We need peace. No group or government is capable of granting us lasting peace. We only have Jesus – the Prince of Peace to look to! So, please pray for peace in Ethiopia.
God bless you all!!
Berhanu B. Wari
Addis Ababa Christian Church