The landlocked Horn of Africa nation has been experiencing clashes since November 4 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed-led government ordered a military offensive against the authorities in the Tigray region, which also borders Sudan.
The military offensive was in response to the alleged attack on Ethiopia’s largest military base located in Tigray’s capital, Mekelle by forces loyal to the region’s government.
The offensive is the culmination of escalating tensions between the authorities of the two regions that started in September when the ruling party in Tigray, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) organized elections in the region, against the advice of the federal government.
The conflict has reportedly killed hundreds so far and displaced many more who have fled the country. More than 40,000 refugees have crossed into neighboring Sudan and roads in Tigray are crowded with people escaping from the fighting.
Meanwhile, forces battling Ethiopia's federal government have vowed to continue the fight in the north of the country, despite a 72-hour ultimatum from the country’s Prime Minister to surrender.
On November 22, Abiy reportedly warned members of TPLF to surrender "within the next 72 hours, recognizing that you are at a point of no return."
Earlier this month, Pope Francis said he was “following with concerns” the conflict in Ethiopia and urged the people of God in the Horn of Africa country to engage in peaceful dialogue to resolve their disagreements.
“I am following with concern the news arriving from Ethiopia. While I urge that the temptation of an armed conflict be rejected, I invite everyone to prayer and to fraternal respect, to dialogue and to a peaceful end to the disagreements,” the Holy Father said November 8 at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
The Prelates in Eritrea have warned the aftermath of the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia may be ugly saying, “Once a war starts, no one knows when and where it ends. And in war all the parties are losers and there is now winner.”
In the words of St. John Paul II, Eritrea’s Bishops note, in the November 24 news report, that war does not have any meaningful value, and is always unjust and that it destroys the four pillars of peace – Truth, Justice, Love and Freedom.