Key Dates of the Ethiopia War

Violence erupted in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region about two years ago when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops to oust rebels he accused of attacking federal army bases.

Fighting erupted again last month with the collapse of a five-month humanitarian truce.

But the rebels said on Sunday they were ready for a ceasefire and would accept an African Union-led peace process, bowing to the Ethiopian government’s demand that the African Union act as a mediator.

Conflict timeline:

– 2020: Tigray troops enter –

On November 4, 2020, Abiy ordered a military response to what he called a “treasonous” attack on the federal army camps in Tigray.

He blames the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, a former guerrilla group that dominated Ethiopian politics for nearly three decades before Abiy took office in 2018.

Neighboring Eritrea, which signed a peace deal with Abiy in 2018 that helped him win the Nobel Peace Prize the following year, is reported to have sent troops to Tigray to aid the Ethiopian forces.

Two weeks later, government forces captured Mekele, the capital of Tigray.

– 2021: ‘Ethnic cleansing’ –

In February 2021, Amnesty International said Eritrean soldiers had killed “hundreds of civilians” in November in the ancient city of Aksum. In March, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke of “ethnic cleansing” in Tigray.

For several months, Ethiopia and Eritrea denied the Eritrean forces were involved, but in March 2021 Abiy finally acknowledged their presence and immediately announced their departure.

– Tigray advances –

The rebels recaptured Mekele in late June 2021, before pushing into neighboring Amhara and Afar regions.

Abiy will be sworn in for a new five-year term on October 4.

Two weeks later, Ethiopian planes launched deadly strikes on Tigray.

In late October, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front announced that it had captured two major cities in Amhara – a few hundred kilometers north of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

– My father leads the fight –

On November 2, 2021, Ethiopia declared a nationwide state of emergency.

A joint UN-Ethiopia report says crimes against humanity may have been committed by “all parties”.

Abiy arrives at the front line on November 24 to personally direct his forces into battle.

In the early weeks of December, the government said it had regained control of a string of towns, including Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to 13th-century rock-carved churches.

– Rebels withdraw –

In December 2021, the rebels said they were withdrawing from Amhara and Afar and the government says its forces will advance no further into Tigray.

The United Nations says dozens of civilians were killed in air strikes on Tigray in late December.

Read also: Ethiopian rebels demand conditional truce

– ‘Humanitarian truce’ –

In early January 2022, dozens of people were killed in a drone strike on a camp for displaced people in Dedebet in northwest Tigray, the rebels said.

On March 24, the government announced an “indefinite humanitarian truce” to help expedite the delivery of emergency aid to Tigray. The rebels agree to a cessation of hostilities.

– Massacres in Oromia –

On June 18, hundreds of people belonging to the Amhara ethnic group were killed by Oromo Liberation Army rebels in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, according to survivors.

The Office of Legal Affairs, allied to the TPLF, denies the attacks and blames government forces.

– Peace talks –

In June, Abiy raised the possibility of peace talks with the Tigray Liberation Front and the rebels say they are also ready to participate in the peace process.

But the parties have failed to agree on who should mediate – the rebels reject the African Union’s envoy to the region – and the government rejects the Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s request to restore basic services to Tigray as a precondition.

– New attack –

On August 24, the armistice collapsed as fighting resumed on the southern border of Tigray. Both sides blame each other.

At least four people, including children, were killed in an air strike by Ethiopian forces on Mekele. Meanwhile, the rebels are launching a new incursion south into the Amhara and Afar.

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On Sunday, Tigrayan authorities announced that they are ready for a ceasefire and a “strong peace process” mediated by the African Union.

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