‘Tigrayonline’, on Saturday 30 January broadcast an audio recording of the former president of the Tigray regional government and leader of the TPLF, Debretsion Gebremichael inviting Tigrayans to armed struggle and prolonged resistance. In the message, the TPLF Leader accuses Ethiopian government forces and their ‘Eritrean allies’ of unprecedented violence against civilians, including rape and looting. He accusations now also confirmed by the United Nations. A radio message that denies yet another fake news from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali who gave Gebremichael as dead. This is the first public statement from the TPLF in two months.
“The federal government has temporary military dominance. Cities and rural areas of Tigray are bombed day and night as human rights violations and war crimes have become commonplace in Tigray. Our region has been attacked by the Ethiopian federal government to resolve a political dispute by force with the aid of the Eritrean army, Somali mercenaries and Amhara militias. I ask the people of Tigray to continue fighting and the international community to take adequate measures to stop the ongoing atrocities and acts of genocide. I also call for the launch of independent investigations to try the perpetrators of these crimes, first of all Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Issayas Afeworiki. ” The Tigrinya leader concluded his message by inviting the Trigrinians of the diapora to donate time and money to support the fighting at home. No reaction from the federal government was recordedon the matter.
Debretsion Gebremichael’s message destroys the rosy propaganda offered by the Federal Government of Addis Ababa. The ‘police’ operations in Tigray to eradicate the ‘scum’ of the TPLF were to last a few weeks, according to what the Prime Minister declared in November. We are on the 92nd day of the war. Despite the intervention of the Eritrean army allied with Abiy and the Amhara leadership, the TPLF is far from being defeated. On the contrary, it seems to have the men, weapons and financial means to continue the war for a long time.
Mark Lowcock, UN director of humanitarian operations told the Security Council that the TPLF still controls 40% of the Tigray territories and possibly beyond. He also reported that the Addis Ababa government is no longer able to control its Eritrean ally who now appears to be operating in Tigray with an autonomous and dark agenda. According to African Union diplomatic sources, the Tigray conflict would cost the Ethiopian government $ 1.2 million a day. An unsustainable cost that aggravates the economic situation already compromised by the pandemic.
The TPLF is first of all a guerrilla formation which has turned into a political party. Guerrilla warfare is inherent in its DNA. It was created by guerrillas who participated in the fight against the last brutal and bloody emperor Amhara: the Negus and was the main architect of the struggle against the Stalinist military junta of the DERG. As in the past, even against Abiy the TPLF uses a deadly tactic that has always given the desired results. Forcing the opponent into a long war to bleed him economically. Both the Negus and the DERG were defeated as resources diverted to defeat the guerrillas destroyed the national economy.
To avoid the same fate, Prime Minister Abiy on February 1, 21 addressed the G20 asking for a substantial debt reduction to reduce the economic impact of the pandemic and to be able to start the national Covid-19 vaccination campaign. Ethiopia has a foreign debt of 27.8 billion dollars, of which 8.5 billion with international institutions and states and 6.8 billion with investors and private banks.
The G20 have strong doubts that debt relief would free up the resources needed to continue fighting in the rebel region and organize the second offensive in close collaboration with the bloody Eritrean dictator in the hope of finally defeating the TPLF. It is this risk that is holding back the G20s in accepting the Ethiopian request. The unheard requests of the new American president for an immediate withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray, evidence of crimes against humanity committed against the civilian population, a ban on UN agencies and NGOs from providing humanitarian aid to the Tigrinya population now reduced to starvation , Abiy’sobstinacy to continue the war and reject political dialogue, are all factors that work against Addis Ababa’s request for a considerable reduction in the foreign debt incurred.
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