Abiy Meets African Union Envoys over Tigray Issue

ADDIS ABEBA – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has met African Union envoys who are trying to mediate between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The AU envoys who attended Friday’s meeting with Abiy include ex-presidents Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa.

After the meeting, Abiy’s office said the government is seeking to ensure the protection of civilians, opening a humanitarian corridor, and it will welcome back Ethiopian refugees who fled into Sudan.

However, the prime minister said his government would continue its law enforcement operation against the “TPLF clique”.

Abiy “expressed the federal government’s mandated responsibility to enforce rule of law in the region and across the country,” his office said. “Failure to do so would nurture a culture of impunity with devastating cost to the survival of the country.”

The federal government launched a massive ‘law enforcement operation’ after the TPLF forces stormed the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) in the early hours of Nov. 4, killing soldiers and looting military assets.

The operation has now reached its “last phase” after a 72-hour ultimatum granted to the TPLF leadership to surrender expired on Thursday.

During Friday’s meeting, Prime Minister Abiy briefed the Special Envoys on the background to Ethiopia’s rule of law operations currently underway in the Tigray region”

“The Prime Minister discussed at length the patience with which his government handled the provocations and destabilization agenda the TPLF orchestrated for more than two years,” the PM office said.

Since the start of the conflict, at least 41,000 Ethiopians have fled to neighboring Sudan, according to a UNHCR report, which says the number could rise up to 200,000.

A report by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission already confirmed that more than 600 Ethiopians were ethnically profiled and massacred by TPLF youth group called “Samri” at the Maikadra locality in Western Tigray.