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Ethiopian civil war rages on, transforming civilian lives

By Keirah Chen Dec. 8, 2021

Beomhee Kim Art

Originally appointed to be a regional peacemaker, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is now leading a disastrous civil war. Before Ahmed came to power, Ethiopia was governed by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which worked towards economic stability and growth at the cost of basic civil and political rights.

Tired of authoritarian rule, Ethiopians led an uprising against TPLF leader Hailemariam Desalegn, forcing him to resign and replacing him with Ahmed as Prime Minister. Ahmed immediately established the new political assembly Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Front (EPRDF) to replace the TPLF, sparking fear throughout Ethiopia that the federal system, which grants Tigray and other distinct Ethiopian regions significant sovereignty, was under threat. Tensions between Ahmed and the TPLF continued to grow in September 2020 when the TPLF continued with regional parliamentary elections, defying Ahmed’s command to postpone them. Afterwards, Ahmed accused the TPLF of attacking a federal army base in an attempt to steal weapons and ordered a military assault against them in retaliation.

As asserted by the TPLF, Ahmed sent young soldiers from Eritrea to aid in the military assault, which goes against the peace negotiation that Eritrea and Ethiopia have achieved after years of war. Though both Ahmed and Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed originally denied Eritrean involvement in the war, in a recent address, Ahmed thanked the Eritreans for “standing by [them] on a tough day.”

The majority of the fighting initially took place in Tigray, but it has now spread to the neighboring region of Amhara. Thousands of Ethiopian refugees are now crossing the border into neighboring Sudan, and the Sudanese Emergency Committee has announced that they would have difficulty taking in the refugees, asking the Sudanese Government to intervene.

This war has also taken a huge economic toll—military expenditure is predicted to cost a total of $502 million by the end of the year, as reported by Trading Economics. Furthermore, Ethiopia’s currency, the birr, has dropped in value.

The United Nations (U.N.) reports countless war crimes such as looting and genocide by all groups involved in the fighting

Beyond its economic effect, the war in Tigray has directly taken the lives of many. The United Nations (U.N.) reports countless war crimes such as looting and genocide by all groups involved in the fighting. Eritrean soldiers have killed more than 100 civilians in Aksum, central Tigray. Several women, boys and girls have also been kidnapped and victimized by sexual violence.

In an attempt to de-escalate the ongoing conflict, the U.N. Council called for a comprehensive ceasefire as well as unhindered humanitarian access. Representatives from Ireland, Vietnam, the United Kingdom and Norway voiced their support in intervening and providing aid to the civilians in Ethiopia. Specifically, the U.S. has donated over $1.6 billion to humanitarian agencies in Ethiopia throughout the last year, airlifting relief supplies as the conflict continues. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing foods for children, safe drinking water, latrines and handwashing facilities in Ethiopia to stop the constant spread of disease. It has also donated kitchen supplies and blankets. Currently, the Biden Administration is issuing sanctions against those partaking the violence.

Representatives from Ireland, Vietnam, the United Kingdom and Norway voiced their support in intervening and providing aid to the civilians in Ethiopia

“It is great that the U.S. is providing Ethiopian refugees with food, supplies and sanitation. Our next step should be to shelter and defend innocent civilians in combat zones, providing refuge for those forced to flee,” Junior Niharika Sharma said.

On the first year anniversary of the war’s beginning, Ahmed announced that he will not stop fighting until he buries his political enemies “with [his and his supporters’] blood and bones,” making it unlikely that the war in Ethiopia will come to an end anytime soon. As the fighting continues, the front line is being pushed further south, forcing more and more civilians to leave their homes in search of refuge.


About the Contributors

Keirah Chen

Entertainment Editor

Keirah Chen is a junior at Leland High School and the Entertainment and Student Spotlight page editor. She likes horror movies, reading, and traveling.

Beomhee Kim

Art Director

Beomhee Kim is a senior at Leland High School and the Art Director for The Charger Account. During her free time, she enjoys drawing, listening to music, and spending time with her friends.

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