Earlier this month, an armed conflict between the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) and the central government emerged after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive in response to an attack on a federal institution.
The two governments now regard each other as illegal.
Since then, thousands of people are thought to be without any access to necessities causing many to flee to neighbouring Sudan. Head of Advocacy at Christian Solidarity Worldwide Dr Khataza Gondwe said civilians are trapped.
“Water has been cut off, access to finances, bank accounts have been frozen, food supplies have been cut off and there has been fighting.”
“They have already been fleeing in huge numbers,” she said. “Around 7,000 were arriving every day in Sudan, which is a country that has its own issues. Up to 40,000 people have fled out of Tigray into Sudan at this moment. And right now, we’re hearing that Ethiopians are stopping people from crossing the border.”
On Sunday, Ethiopian’s Prime Minister gave the Tigray regional authorities a 72-hour ultimatum to surrender. Dr Gondwe said that given that the ultimatum is completed, the worst can be expected.
“Those 72 hours are now up. And he said that the final offensive has begun and that civilians should keep away from military installations and stay in their homes. However, this offensive, he said beforehand, was going to be with artillery, bombardment and tanks. As we know, bombs don’t discriminate between civilian and military targets. So, civilians in the area are in deep danger.”