Ethiopia has designated Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and OLF-Shene as terrorist organisations. This came after several attacks from the organisations in different parts of the country that targeted civilians and public infrastructure over the past couple of years.
The council of ministers approved a resolution on May 1, 2021 to designate the TPLF as a “terrorist” organisation, along with the OLF-Shene. The move was endorsed by a meeting of cabinet members chaired by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
The action will come into effect when it receives approval from the Ethiopian lawmakers.
The move could lead to further prosecution and the arrest of the groups’ members and supporters.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister’s office issued a statement saying that the two groups operate as terrorists and their management or decision-makers have acknowledged or are leading destructive activities on the nation.
The statement further added that the decision would apply to organisations and individuals who collaborate, or have links with or relate to the ideas and actions of the designated “terrorist” organisations.
Why have the two groups been designated as terrorist organisations?
•The Council of Ministers had listed the two groups due to their activities such as arming, training and financing other violent elements in addition to engaging in attacks themselves.
•The groups have also been accused of launching attacks against civilians and public infrastructure to achieve political objectives.
•Ethiopian Prime Minister also held the group responsible for attacking the Ethiopian military on November 3 and killing soldiers while they were sleeping and looting military hardware. He said that this action had prompted the Ethiopian government to launch a sweeping law enforcement operation against the TPLF. The TPLF stated that the attack was a preemptive raid.
What happened in Tigray?
•Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali in a statement on March 23rd had said that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) had tried to seize power in a failed attempt in early November when they had treasonously attacked the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF).
•The TPLF had reportedly fired rockets into Bahir Dar and Gonder cities and killed and kidnapped members of the Ethiopian National Defence Force.
•This action provoked the Federal Government into a military engagement. The Ethiopian Prime Minister had sent troops into the Tigray region on November 4, 2020 to control the situation.
•The troops of Eritrea had also crossed the border and come into Tigray during the time because they were concerned of being attacked by the TPLF forces, as the group had reportedly fired rockets on Asmara, Eritrea multiple times.
•The conflict in Tigray killed almost thousands of people and forced many others to flee from the area.
•The violence had followed years of tension between the federal government and TPLF.
The Ethiopian government is also engaging in operations against the OLA, which is a military splinter group of the Oromo Liberation Front.
According to the government, the group is killing civilians and is behind destruction in the Oromia region and other parts of the country. The group has denied such claims and has accused the government instead for the killings.