Ethiopians lament latest outbreak of fighting in Tigray

Owen Alterman

Senior International Affairs Correspondent of i24NEWS English Channel | @owenalterman

3 min read
Ethiopian government soldiers ride in the back of a truck on a road near Agula, north of Mekele, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on May 8, 2021.
AP Photo/Ben Curtis, FileEthiopian government soldiers ride in the back of a truck on a road near Agula, north of Mekele, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on May 8, 2021.

'We saw what war did last time, and it will do the same thing again. It will just cause damage'

War is not welcome on the streets of Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, and news of renewed fighting in the Tigray region in the north - which brought a five-month truce to an abrupt end - is especially disheartening.

"I was shocked when l heard the news this morning. We had hoped they were ready for peace, but now our hope is gone. If they start the war, it will not be good for the people of Ethiopia and Tigray," Addis Ababa resident Teklehaimanot Mezgebu told AFP.

The war in Ethiopia's Tigray region started in November 2020, sparked by a long-simmering dispute over power between the region's leaders and the Ethiopian central government.

Fighting has since then killed tens of thousands, driven millions from their homes, and caused widespread hardship and potential starvation.

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Five months ago, the sides agreed to a humanitarian truce - and it held.  

Now, each side blames the other for starting the fighting on Wednesday. Their claims cannot be independently confirmed.

"The choice should have been negotiation and peace. We saw what war did last time, and it will do the same thing again. It will just cause damage. The main thing is peace," laments Tizazu Werota, another Addis Ababa resident.

The renewed fighting has also earned wide international condemnation. But none of the condemnations could compete with these words from last week, even before the latest fighting erupted.

A prominent ethnic Tigrayan tells the world why his home region feels ignored.

"The humanitarian crisis in Tigray is more than Ukraine, without any exaggeration, and I said this many months ago, maybe the reason is the color of the skin of the people in Tigray," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.

The war in Tigray may feel like just a tale of local suffering. But it threatens to have a geopolitical impact, drawing in actors from across the Horn of Africa.

For that reason, outsiders should pay attention.

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