Return of fighting in northern Ethiopia tears up five-month truce

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Locals in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa have reacted with dismay to renewed fighting between government forces and Tigrayan rebels in the north of the country.

Fighting continued on Wednesday in border areas of the Tigray region, with rebels and the federal government accusing each other of breaking a five-month truce.

The region is predominantly cut off from the rest of the country, making it impossible to verify the claims of either side independently. 

“We had hoped they were ready for peace, but now our hope is gone,” says Thaimanot Mezgebu, an Addis Ababa local. “If they start the war, it will not be good for the people of Ethiopia and Tigray. Those who pick up their weapons are not thinking about the people.”

Peace is the word on everyone’s lips around the country. Many people don’t want to return to scenes of bloodshed. The conflict that first began in November 2020, has killed untold numbers of people, with widespread reports of atrocities including mass killings and sexual violence.

“Politics is a game of knowledge and art, and we should use that knowledge and come to the negotiation table. That should be the basis for Ethiopia,” says Erdan Delil, another local.

The ceasefire, called in March had paused fighting – allowing a resumption of some international aid to the Tigray region.