Ethiopian PM Abiy explained why ceasefire was needed. He said his government spent 100 billion birr in the Tigray region after the conflict started – which is more than tenfold of the regional budget from the Federal government
Ethiopians have been perplexed for the past two days after the Ethiopian Defense Force withdrew of Mekelle and most parts of the Tigray region following what was described as an immediate and unilateral ceasefire . For many, it appeared as if it happened instantly and against the anticipation of Ethiopians.
Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces reportedly entered Mekelle on Monday, following the withdrawal of Ethiopian Forces from the region. However, reports that cite government sources indicate that the key TPLF leaders have not yet entered the capital Mekelle as of Tuesday.
There have been speculations about a backdoor negotiation between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and the TPLF regarding what many believed was a sudden and unplanned withdrawal.
According to social media sources, PM Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday in the evening met with over 100 reporters in the capital Addis Ababa to talk about the election and the ceasefire in Tigray region of Ethiopia.
He is cited as saying that his government spent over 100 billion Ethiopian birr for humanitarian assistance in the Tigray region, and the spending is said to be ten times higher than the region’s total budget from the Federal government.
However, he said, a good portion of the assistance was clandestinely delivered to what he called Junta ( he is referring to TPLF leaders and their forces) via residents in the region. A family with two children claimed to have five or seven children to receive aid with a family size of seven and the Junta used to get aid that way, he added.
Despite all that, he said, the international community did not want to recognize the humanitarian assistance that the Ethiopian government was making in the region.
“The pressure on the Ethiopian Defense Force from domestically and the pressure from the international community triggered the question as to why the Ethiopian and to whom the sacrifice is paid,” Abiy Ahmed reportedly said.
Furthermore, he said that the TPLF devised a strategy of protracted war to weaken Ethiopia and a change of strategy was needed in order not to die with a group that is dying.
Several countries that were putting pressure on the Ethiopian government see the unilateral decision on the part of Ethiopian government a right move, and the prime minister said he has received phone calls from many leaders.
Other international actors also see merit in the ceasefire. In a statement issued on June 29, The African Union chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, hailed the ‘ ‘humanitarian ceasefire’ in the Tigray region by the Federal Government of Ethiopia as a right step towards the resolution of the conflict.”
There are, however, concerns for the safety of Ethiopians who are from different parts of the country. A report by VOA Amharic service on Wednesday said parents whose children are in different universities in the region are concerned as they could not get information about their situations. They are appealing to the TPLF forces, to the Ethiopian government and to the international community to help them reunite with their children.
Meanwhile, the TPLF is claiming that Ethiopian government forces withdrew from the region after losing a series of battles. Spokesperson of TPLF, Getachew Reda, also told reporters that TPLF forces will continue the offensive in the direction of Eritrea with the aim to control Asmara and in the Amhara region too.
TPLF supporters have been celebrating on social media what they call military triumph while throwing ethnic slurs against the rest of Ethiopians.