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Can Ethiopia avert deep turmoil and prioritize peace?


Ethiopia’s devastating civil war recently entered into its second year and, to achieve peace, both sides in the conflict need to accept some difficult truths.

The conflict between the federal government and the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) has spread beyond Tigray, intensified old animosities between Tigray and Amhara, and drawn in armed groups from Oromia, Benishangul, and Afar, deepening identity-based contestations across Ethiopia.

These days fighting is moving ever closer to the capital, Addis Ababa, threatening a catastrophic escalation. Ethiopia’s cabinet declared a nationwide state of emergency and there are widespread reports of Tigrayan civilians being arrested without reasonable grounds. Governments around the world, from the US to Turkey, are advising their citizens to leave the country immediately.

Meanwhile, northern Ethiopia is facing a worsening humanitarian crisis, with more than eight million people in urgent need of assistance. In Tigray, at least 400,000 people are believed to be living in famine conditions. Two million people have been internally displaced and there are more than 60,000 refugees in Sudan. The first humanitarian convoys for more than a month recently entered the region, but there is still a need for 100 trucks a day to meet the local population’s most basic needs.

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