Tensions in Ethiopia continue to rise as Tigrayan rebels promised to turn the northern region into a “graveyard” for dictators.
“Attempting to rule the people of Tigray by force is like walking on a burning flame,” the Tigrayan statement reads. “Tigray will be the graveyard of dictators.”
A clear message to the country’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, that an all-out war may be imminent despite his assurances.
Earlier this month, Ahmed accused the opposition-led local government in the Tigray region of attacking federal troops and attempting to “loot” military assets.
“Our defence forces … have been ordered to carry out their mission to save the country. The final point of the red line has been crossed. Force is being used as the last measure to save the people and the country,” Ahmed said.
Ahmed promptly ordered a military intervention against TPLF but quickly rejected speculation that the country is headed for civil war.
“Concerns that Ethiopia will descend into chaos are unfounded & a result of not understanding our context deeply.Our rule of law enforcement operation, as a sovereign state with the capacity to manage its own internal affairs, will wrap up soon by ending the prevailing impunity,” he tweeted on Monday.
The conflict has led to the death of hundreds of civilians. Tens of thousands of Tigrayans have fled the country to neighboring country Sudan to escape ethnic violence.
Ahmed’s administration continues to refute claims the attacks on Tigray are racially motivated.
“The federal government… denounces, in the strongest of terms, mischaracterization that this operation has an ethnic or other bias,” the government’s task force on the crisis said via Reuters.
As part of Ahmed’s ongoing crusade against the region, internet, telecommunications services, electricity and banking services have been blocked. The move has been slammed by human rights groups.
“Tigray is now a hell to its enemies … The people of Tigray will never kneel,” the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said in a statement.