Embattled Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed returned to Mekelle, the regional administrative capital of the estranged Tigray region, just a fortnight after Tigray People’s Liberation Front [TPLF] abandoned their resistance following an onslaught by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF].
In what triggered an international outcry, Ahmed deployed ENDF troops to Tigray after the local forces attacked the Northern Command, confiscating weapons besides kidnapping close to 1,000 federal forces, who have been manning the region in as many years according to local media.
Donned in military fatigue, a jovial Ahmed was received by local officials along with the top commanders of ENDF in Mekelle, a town where pundits thought that it could have taken months for the federal army to capture from TPLF. There was a minimal exchange of fire between the two factions before the town was liberated.
In a tweet, Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, said the army has embarked on rebuilding Mekelle following the destruction of properties inflicted after the fight between ENDF and TPLF. He also promised to ensure humanitarian aid is given to the locals, who were hit hard by the conflict.
“Went to Mekelle and met with commanders of the ENDF as well as the Provisional Administration of Tigray,” said Ahmed, who had been hailed by the international community for pushing for peace and stability in the Horn of Africa prior to the unprecedented Tigray crisis which almost disintegrated Ethiopia.
“Telecom and electricity currently being restored after repairs; infrastructure works underway and humanitarian relief provided. We will continue apprehending the criminal clique,” added the PM, who is set to defend his seat next year following the postponement of Ethiopia’s polls which were scheduled for August 2020.
His trip coincided with that of Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to Addis Ababa, where he held a session with Ahmed over the stability in the Horn of Africa. Abdalla, whose country is also witnessing unprecedented changes following the ouster of Omar al Bashir, is the chairman of IGAD.
The two leaders agreed to have the Ethiopian crisis featuring in the upcoming IGAD extraordinary summit that is scheduled for December 20 this year. The summit, which will bring together Heads of States and governments, will take place in Djibouti.
Ever since he took over in 2018, Ahmed has expanded democratic space in Ethiopia besides embracing the freedom of the press, something which has been linked to the current ethnic unrest in the country. He has been witnessing similar clashes in his own Oromo backyard.