AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - The world war in Africa in the midst of a media blackout

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Addis Ababa (Agenzia Fides) - Ethiopia is turning into a world war in Africa, with tens of thousands of deaths in recent months, potentially unreported, while Tigray rebels fight against a coalition of armies and militias in a total media blackout.
There are no reports of the conflict after the Ethiopian government cut phone and internet lines in the Tigray region and almost completely blocked media access to hide the extent of the fighting. Most communication with the outside world now has to be done via satellite phones.
The violence is on an unprecedented scale, even after two years of fighting. As the conflict intensifies in the northern region of the country, experts describe it as the "deadliest war in the world".
"This is the new Great African War," said Cameron Hudson, an analyst and former head of African affairs for the US National Security Council.
"After the events in Congo 25 years ago, in which up to six African countries participated with their troops in a fighting that killed more than five million people, Ethiopia is fast becoming the next world war of Africa", added the analyst. .
The latest massive offensive is part of a bloody civil war that broke out in the northern reaches of Africa's second most populous nation in late 2020, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed attacked a dissident local government in the Tigray region (see Fides, 6/11/2020). Federal forces, ethnic militias and Eritrean soldiers joined forces to fight the rebels, who initially appeared to have been wiped out. In mid-2021, the guerrillas took over much of the region in a massive counteroffensive. Eritrean forces withdrew last year and Tigrinya forces advanced towards the Ethiopian capital. For a while it looked like Addis Ababa might fall. However, an influx of drones from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates pushed the rebels back. According to military sources, a months-long ceasefire offered a respite to the millions of people who were in dire straits and the conflict disappeared from the world agenda. But now large-scale war is tearing the region apart again. Experts say the massive conflict involves many actors from across the region in an explosive situation that could set the Horn of Africa on fire. UAE repelled the rebels. "It has been confirmed that forces, willing or not, from neighboring states Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan are fighting in this conflict, and there are now increasing indications that forces from Chad, Niger and Libya could also be involved", said Hudson. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 4/10/2022)