ADDIS ABEBA – Council of Ministers has declared a state of emergency in northern Tigray region after the government accused TPLF force of attacking federal defense force base.
“The State of Emergency is decreed for a period of six months,” said the PM office’s statement, and added that a Task Force to be led by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces.
This came after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office reported a deadly attack on the defence military base in Mekelle by the armed forces of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
“Illegal and violent activities within the National Regional State of Tigray are endangering the constitution and constitutional order, public peace and security, specially threatening the country’s sovereignty,” the statement said on the reason for the state of emergency.
“The State of Emergency Shall be applicable throughout the National Regional State of Tigray,” the statement reads. But detailed information regarding the State of Emergency on a regular basis will be provided in due course, it says.
Tigray TV reported that airspace has been closed over the region, and it asserted that the northern command of Ethiopia’s military had defected to the Tigray government. The prime minister’s office told The Associated Press the defection report was “not true.”
The TPLF was the dominant force in the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a multiethnic, four-party coalition that had run the country for almost 30 years before Abiy rose to power in 2018 on the back of widespread, nationwide antigovernmental protests.
Last year, the TPLF split from the EPRDF when it refused to merge along with the three other coalition parties into the newly formed Prosperity Party (PP) under Abiy.
In September, people in Tigray voted in a local election, defying the federal government and increasing political tensions.
Last month, the federal government moved to send funding for the region to local administrations instead of the regional government, angering TPLF officials.