Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has ordered the army to confront a regional government in Tigray state, following an alleged attack on an army base, reported Addis Standard.
Mr. Abiy has accused the region’s ruling party, TPLF, of launching the recent attack on the army base.
In the statement, posted on his Twitter and Facebook pages on Wednesday morning, Mr. Abiy said Ethiopia’s defence forces “have been ordered to carry out their mission to save the country”.
“The final point of the red line has been crossed. Force is being used as the last measure to save the people and the country,” he added.
As per the statement, the TPLF attacked a military base in Tigray and attempted to take artillery and other equipment. It accused the TPLF of arming and organizing irregular militias in the past few weeks.
Ethiopia was due to hold national elections in August, but the country’s poll body postponed the vote because of the coronavirus pandemic. Legislators then voted to extend officials’ mandates but Tigrayan leaders rejected this and went ahead with regional elections in September in defiance of the federal government, which called the vote “illegal”.
The row between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the party that rules Tigray, has escalated in recent days with both sides accusing each other of plotting to use military force.
Last week Tigray blocked a general appointed by Abiy from assuming his military post, saying the Ethiopian prime minister no longer had the authority to make any such appointments.
The TPLF had played a major role in Ethiopia’s governing coalition before Abiy came to power in 2018 and announced sweeping political reforms.
On Monday, Debrestion Gebremichael, the president of the Tigray region, told a news conference that Abiy’s government was planning to attack the region to punish it for holding the September election.