The conflict that started in Tigray last year resulted in the Ethiopian government’s request for a ceasefire. In this context, the leaders of the war-torn Tigray region made a statement on July 4 demanding the complete withdrawal of the “invading forces” and the establishment of their government and the recognition of their constitutional rights before starting talks with the federal government on a ceasefire. In addition, the TPLF stressed that they accepted “the ceasefire in principle” provided there were no further invasions.
In a statement, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said: “Invading forces from Amhara and Eritrea must withdraw from Tigray and return to their pre-war areas, and we want firm assurances that the safety of the Tigray people will not be jeopardized by a second-round invasion.” The TPLF also called for the re-establishment of “the democratically elected government in Tigray with all its powers and constitutional responsibilities”.
The TPLF ruled the northern region of Tigray and the central government in Ethiopia for decades, until Abiy Ahmed became prime minister in 2018. Abiy’s forces have been fighting the TPLF since the end of last year, along with troops from Amhara, another part of Ethiopia, and forces from neighboring Eritrea.
Ethiopian central government forces and their allies, accusing the TPLF of attacking military bases in Tigray, announced that they had seized the area last November. The TPLF recaptured the Tigray capital, Mekelle, on Monday, June 28, with cheering crowds. The return of the TPLF was followed by a unilateral ceasefire declared by the Abiy government.
At least 1.7 million people have been displaced in Tigray since the conflict began. Three opposition parties have claimed that at least 52,000 people have died in the region since the fighting began. More than 400,000 people in Tigray are currently facing famine, according to the United Nations, and there is a risk of further conflict despite the federal government’s unilateral ceasefire.