Ethiopian prime minister calls Tigray rebels a “criminal clique”


A rebel political party in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region is a “criminal clique” that has forced the federal government into military action, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Friday.

Abiy sparked fears of civil war earlier this week by announcing that he was sending soldiers into the region to quell an alleged uprising by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The government has since imposed a six-month state of emergency in Tigray, and the prime minister said in his Friday statement that it would “use proportionate force to restore law and order.”

The TPLF long dominated Ethiopian politics, but since taking
office in 2018 reformist Abiy has been at odds with the elites in Tigray, many of whom he has purged from the government.

The TPLF “ruled the country for the previous 27 years through means of oppression rather than law,” Abiy said.

Separately on Friday, Ethiopia’s federal police announced that some of its officers in Tigray had come under attack from TPLF forces and that looting was widespread.

“Furthermore, we have established that TPLF could carry out terror attacks on major cities. Some of them have been apprehended while a manhunt is going on to arrest others,” Federal Police Chief, Endeshaw Tassew, told state media outlets.

Due to an internet and phone blackout in Tigray, it is hard to get a clear picture of what is happening on the ground.

Late Thursday, Tigray Television claimed airstrikes had been carried out on the regional capital – an allegation that could not be independently verified.

Source: GNA


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