Tens of thousands of Internally Displaced People in the Tigray region of Ethiopia took to the streets for the second time in a week to demand to be returned to their homes.
They have also demanded humanitarian aid, according to a BBC Amharic report.
Getachew Reda, the region’s interim president, attended the protest in the region’s capital on Wednesday.
According to him, the regional government he leads is partly responsible for the failure to return displaced persons.
In a speech he made to the protestors, he admitted saying “My administration is one of the responsible organs.”
He added, “You are in such a difficult situation because we were unable to do our jobs,” and pledged to return the IDPs to their places very soon.
BBC Amharic highlighted that “over 1.4 million people were displaced following the war in North Ethiopia particularly from ‘West Tigray’ ” What is often presented as “Western Tigray” is the Wolkait and Humera areas which are currently under the Amhara region. The area was part of the Gondar province before the TPLF incorporated it as part of Tigray after taking central government power in Addis Ababa in 1991. It is unclear if the 1.4 million people that are said to have been displaced are entirely from the Wolkait region – or that the Tigray administration calls ” Western Tigray”
There is also a claim that they were displaced by “armed groups in the Amhara region.” There seems to be a view that the implementation of the Pretoria Agreement ended the war between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and Abiy Ahmed’s Federal government.
In a speech to the parliament weeks before the Pretoria agreement, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that mediators do not have a right to give Wolkait – to this or that group. However, many doubt if Abiy Ahmed stands by his words.
There appears to be a conception that the Pretoria agreement deliberated on the “controversial areas” when it stated that the dispute would be resolved by the existing Ethiopian constitution.
The existing constitution – which many especially from the Amhara region – believe was an imposition from TPLF – incorporated the former parts of Gondar Province as part of the Tigray region.
There are concerns that the issue could reignite a conflict. The Amhara region of Ethiopia has been a conflict zone for the past six months after Abiy Ahmed’s government declared a state of emergency under the guise of restoring law and order in the region. The military campaign that was planned to be completed in two weeks is far from over after seven months.
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