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Ethiopian Civil War Escalates, Causing Humanitarian Crisis

An increasingly hostile armed conflict between Ethiopia’s government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) could destabilize the strategic Horn of Africa and create a humanitarian crisis. Both Ethiopia’s federal government and the TPLF, based in the northern Tigray region, regard the other as illegal. Large-scale hostilities began earlier this month after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali accused the TPLF of responsibility for a deadly attack on a military base. Since then, the sides have been in an open armed conflict. UN sources report that the almost 2 million residents of the region receive humanitarian assistance, and the conflagration could lead to a mass refugee flight into neighboring Sudan. The heavily armed and well stocked TPLF dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalitions before being pushed out following Abiy’s rise to the prime minister’s office in 2018. Since then, tensions have been building. Abiy was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in negotiating a peace agreement with neighboring Eritrea, Ethiopia’s former long-time nemesis.