Situation under control in Tigray: Ethiopian envoy

New Delhi: The Ethiopian government has succeeded in containing the violence in the country’s northern region of Tigray that witnessed clashes between the government and regional forces, Ethiopian Ambassador to India, Tizita Mulugeta, said here on Sunday.
‘The situation is now under control and we are in a position to start the rehabilitation programme,’ the Ambassador said in an exclusive interview.
She said that for the time-being, almost all the objectives have been successfully achieved and ‘only a few number of criminals are hiding, who are being hunted by the government’.
People in Tigray region are caught in a conflict between the government and the armed militant groups that are allegedly supported by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a political party in Opposition.
In September, the TPLF had asked the government to hold regional elections, but their request was denied. Going against Addis Ababa’s decision, the party conducted elections on its own, which was deemed as ‘illegitimate’ by the federal government.
The Ethiopian government, on November 4, launched a military operation in Tigray, accusing the TLFP of an attack on a local military base to hijack weapons and arms of anti-government militia.
The clashes forced thousands of people to flee towards Sudan. According to UN refugee agency, till now, more than 45,000 people have crossed the border and reached Sudan.
Speaking on rehabilitation of nearly 50,000 refugees, Dr Mulugeta said the government of Ethiopia has a very good experience in handling different kinds of displacement of people.
‘So now, the most focused activity that the government is undertaking is to rehabilitate those, who have fled to Sudan and also those, who have been internally displaced. For the time-being, four important sites have been identified to allocate the displaced people [for rehabilitation],’ she added.
As the elections in the country were earlier postponed due to the ongoing Novel Coronavirus pandemic, the Ambassador said that the government was preparing for the polls, which were likely to be held in either May or June, 2021.
‘The government is highly prepared for the elections and is in constant talks with the Opposition political parties in this regard,’ she said, adding that the unrest has been dealt with and now, there was no human right violation that could deter the elections.
On December 8, United Nation Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the UN remains fully committed to support an African Union (AU)-led initiative, to seek a lasting and peaceful resolution to the conflict between federal and local forces in Tigray.
Responding to a question on whether Ethiopia needs an international support to tackle the current crisis, the Ambassador said the situation in Tigray was an internal issue of Ethiopia and being successfully dealt with by the government.
However, the Ethiopian government would not hesitate to seek assistance from other countries if required, Dr Mulugeta added.
As per the latest the reports, the clashes in Tigray region have subsided since November 28, when the government gained full control of regional capital Mekele, which used to be the TPLF’s headquarters.
Meanwhile, in an advisory, the Indian Embassy in Addis Ababa have asked the Indian nationals to postpone their travel to the strife-torn Tigray region. (By Ujwal Jalali)