Voting was underway in Ethiopia Monday as Tigray, the northernmost regional state of the country, is torn apart by civil war and famine. Eritrean troops from across the border and Ethiopian national forces are being accused of war crimes, rape and ethnic cleansing in the region.
Eritrea, a neighboring country, reportedly sent troops because they were concerned that they would be attacked by forces from the Tigray’s People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a military operation in Tigray last November to oust the the TPLF as the regional ruling party. The TPLF refused to accept Abiy as the country’s legitimate ruler. In September 2020, they went ahead with its regional elections in Tigray, in defiance of the Ethiopian government. The Ethiopian military began attacking after TPLF forces had attacked military bases belonging to Ethiopian soldiers in November 2020. The ongoing civil conflict is being blamed for the deep food insecurities within the region.
Over 1.7 million people displaced due to conflict are in need of urgent assistance across 265 accessible locations in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and neighboring Afar and Amhara, according to data collected by the International Organization for Migration’s Displacement Tracking Matrix.