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Tigrayan Global Advocacy Group (TGAG) Statement on the Abiy Ahmed War on the Regional State of Tigray

To: United Nations Security Council, the African Union (AU), and the European Union (EU)

November 28, 2020


Excerpt: The central theme of this statement reflects the current situation of the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia, and more specifically on the Abiy-Isaias war on Tigray and the overall reality on the ground in Tigray, especially in regards to the bombardment of civilian areas and the destruction of institutions, hospitals, industries, and farms, and the subsequent humanitarian catastrophe, including the influx of more than 40,000 Tigrayan refugees to Sudan that is corroborated by international media.

We members of the Tigray Global Advocacy Group (TGAG), US citizens and residents of Tigrayan Ethiopian origin, are greatly concerned by the war on Tigray that was initiated and provoked by the so-called government of Ethiopia, spearheaded by Abiy Ahmed, whose term in office has expired on September 25, 2020, but is governing the country by political fiat, typical of an autocratic regime that rules by decree and arbitrary decision making process and by trampling over the constitutional order and the rule of law.

Given the nature and characteristics of the regime, thus, it would not be surprising if Abiy Ahmed could rally the rubber stamp parliament, some government officials, members of his Prosperity Party (PP), and the armed forces and declare war on Tigray on November 4, 2020. In due course, the regime mobilized the entire military forces, i.e. all divisions and brigades, to the war front while at the same time began profiling Tigrigna speaking Ethiopians in the military and the larger Ethiopian society, and as a result the Tigrayan officers who were enlisted and serving in the Ethiopian Air force (they comprise 52% of the air force) were forced to leave their jobs; in effect, they were fired; in a similar fashion, as part of this profiling mission, prominent generals and colonels of Tigrayan origin, over seventy of them, were either put under house arrest and imprisoned or some of them forced to retire; some 51,000 Tigrayan people in the civil service were literally kicked out from their jobs, and a significant number of Tigrayan businessmen and women were harassed and intimidated and their property confiscated. Hundreds of Tigrayan residents in Addis Ababa were picked up from their homes and workplaces by the police and detained at Sendafa, Didisa, and Tatek military training camp.  

We have now come to conclude that the war on Tigray is not just against the TPLF leadership as the Abiy regime falsely claims in order to hoodwink Ethiopians in particular and the world community in general but it is aimed at committing genocide on the people of Tigray . Also, now we know that all the fanfare of Abiy’s peace accord with Isaias of Eritrea, signed between the two leaders two years ago and that earned Abiy Ahmed a Nobel Peace prize, was in fact a window dressing and a smokescreen for their joint agenda to conduct war against Tigray.

Long before Abiy came to power, however, diaspora Ethiopians who opposed the EPRDF government, including media outlets like the Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT), had been beating their war drums against the TPLF and the people of Tigray, and some of them without a shame and remorse whatsoever have even proposed the extermination of the Tigrayan people by attributing the Rwanda genocide experiment of 1994 as an example that could be tried in Tigray.

Beginning 2016, thus, a combination of protestations in the Oromia Regional State and the clamor and uproar of the Ethiopian diaspora chauvinists and ex-Derg (military government 1974-1991) members who were granted asylum in the United States, led to the prelude of the downfall of the EPRDF government; the incident was followed by a smooth transition of power that subsequently gave rise to Abiy Ahmed at the very top echelon of the government apparatus.

But as soon as Abiy assumed the premiership on April 2018, Ethiopians throughout the nation encountered internal displacement unheard of in their history; tumult and turmoil were everywhere and “unknown armed gunmen” had begun attacking Ethiopians, mostly in the rural areas and sometimes in the urban areas; they burned public properties, private houses and farms, and wantonly destroyed churches of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church; the pattern of their terrorist operations was almost identical wherever the mayhem was conducted. Incidents of such havoc  abound in Ethiopia from 2018 to present, but suffice to mention some like the Ethiopian Somali and Oromo conflict, Oromo-Amhara confrontations, ethnic cleansing of the Qimant in Gondar and Benishangul by Amhara militia, the command post wars on the OLF in Wellega, and the violent attacks of Tigray people in the Amhara regional state. It is this Abiy sinister bequest that has now culminated in the war against Tigray.   

After Abiy came to power and established the Prosperity Party (PP), the TPLF retreated to its base in Tigray, and while the instability continued unbated and created massive destruction, desolation and depredation in all Ethiopia, Tigray enjoyed relative peace, but the tranquil and serenity in the regional state was threatened and is on the verge of being obliterated, and worse genocide hovers over the people of Tigray now, while the TPLF fights on four fronts with Abiy and Amhara militia on the western, southern, and eastern front, and with Eritrean troops on the northern front.

Since the war began, wherever Ethiopian and Eritrean troops managed to penetrate into the villages of Tigray, creeping ethnic cleansing have been conducted by the criminal perpetrators of the Abiy army; the Amhara militia, the most vicious and cruel of all the fighting forces, were engaged in the butchering of Tigrayans including the beheading of young boys and surgically cutting the fetuses from pregnant women. The same Amhara militia is also responsible for the Mai Kadra gruesome massacre of 600 innocent Tigrayan civilians; they were bayoneted and hacked by machetes, but the Abiy government that staged the massacre blamed the TPLF for conducting the massacre and international organizations like the Amnesty International were quick to say that the Tigray Regional State should be responsible for the massacre. At any rate, the impending full-fledged genocide, thus, is imminent; it can happen as we dispatch this piece to the UN Security Council, the African Union (AU), and the European Union (EU).

We Tigrayan Ethiopians have great appreciation to the initiatives taken by the AU, including the  three envoys, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, and Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa; the UN Security Council for expressing concern about the inevitable violation of international law and the influx of Ethiopian refugees into Sudan; and the EU resolution of November 24, 2020, which is a very comprehensive peace proposal that also includes the establishment of an independent committee by the European Parliament in order to look into the war in Tigray. We also appreciate the EU Parliament intention of working with the AU in mitigating the impending humanitarian catastrophe in the war zone, and for its plan to use its massive aid to Ethiopia as leverage to pressurize the Abiy Government to stop the war and accept international mediation

We are aware that bombardment of civilian areas is prohibited by international law; more specifically, we are aware that the 1977 Protocol I was adopted as an amendment to the Geneva conventions, prohibiting the deliberate or indiscriminate attack of civilians and civilian objects, even if the area contained military objectives, and the attacking force must take precautions and steps to spare the lives of civilians and civilian objects.

On top of the 1977 Protocol I, Article 25 of the Hague Convention of 1907, which reads, “The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited” is also relevant to our present appeal to the UN Security Council.

We are also aware that the Security Council is entrusted, first and foremost, to maintain peace and security, and more specifically to undertake investigation and mediation, dispatch a mission, appoint special envoys, and request the Secretary-General to undertake action in the peaceful resolution of the conflict. The UN Security Council in our opinion, must also dispatch military observers or peacekeeping forces; the UN Security Council, the AU, and the EU must move fast in order to avoid carnage, genocide, and humanitarian crisis.

Sincerely,

Tigrayan Global Advocacy Group (TGAG)

 United States of America (USA)

   

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