Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Still “hell on earth” Despite Peace Agreement: Catholic Bishop

Credit: Agenzia Fides

The humanitarian situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region has not improved, two months after the signing of an agreement to restore peace in the embattled region, the Catholic Bishop of Adigrat in Ethiopia has said.

In a letter to the information service of Propaganda Fide, Agenzia Fides, Bishop Tesfasellassie Medhin notes that the situation in the northernmost region of the Horn of Africa country continues to deteriorate, with forces who were instructed to leave the region refusing to abide by the requirements of the agreement.

“The entire population continues to experience hell on earth in this long siege and blockade of basic services that has lasted for more than two years,” Bishop Medhin says in a note to Agenzia Fides.

“We pray that the peace agreement is successful,” he says, referring to the November 2 peace agreement in Pretoria, South Africa, in which the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) pledged to “permanently silence the guns and end the two years of conflict in northern Ethiopia”. 

The war in the northern region of Tigray was expected to subside after the signing of the peace agreement. But this is not yet the case, the Ethiopian Catholic Bishop says, and adds, “It is not over yet, many of our faithful and our parishes are still besieged by foreign forces.”


Agenzia Fides has reported on Thursday, January 19 that the ceasefire at the beginning of November “remains de facto on paper,” adding that Eritrean troops have refused to leave the embattled region.

The citation is Tigray, the news service reports, “is the most tragic and forgotten humanitarian crisis in the world.”

“Last month, a group of Tigray civil society organizations claimed that Eritrean forces were still killing civilians after the November agreement,” Agenzia Fides further reports, adding that the Tigray conflict has created a security vacuum that has helped Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) rebels escalate another longstanding conflict further south in Oromia, which has become Ethiopia's most unstable region.

According to the Agenzia Fides report, violence is spreading through rural areas not far from Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, and the conflict is spreading throughout Oromia, the largest region of Ethiopia. 

The roots of the conflict in Oromia go back to the late 19th century when Oromia was conquered and absorbed by the empire of Menelik II. 

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To consolidate his power over the area, the Ethiopian emperor introduced armed Amhara settlers to rule in his name; and many Oromo today still do not tolerate central national power well.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.