Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Ethiopians from the Tigray region living in South Africa hold placards as they gather and protest outside the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in Pretoria, South Africa, on Nov. 25, 2020.

PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP/Getty Images

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister is rejecting growing international consensus for dialogue and a halt to deadly fighting in the Tigray region as “unwelcome,” saying his country will handle the conflict on its own as a 72-hour surrender ultimatum runs out on Wednesday.

“We respectfully urge the international community to refrain from any unwelcome and unlawful acts of interference,” the statement from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said as government forces encircled the Tigray capital, Mekele, with tanks. “The international community should stand by until the government of Ethiopia submits its requests for assistance to the community of nations.”

The government led by Mr. Abiy, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, has warned Mekele’s half a million residents to move away from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front leaders or there will be “no mercy” – language that the United Nations human rights chief and others have warned could lead to “further violations of international humanitarian law.”

Story continues below advertisement

But communications remain almost completely severed to the Tigray region of about six million people, and it is not clear how many people in Mekele are aware of the warnings and the threat of artillery fire.

Diplomats on Tuesday said UN Security Council members in a closed-door meeting expressed support for an African Union-led effort to deploy three high-level envoys to Ethiopia. But Ethiopia has said the envoys cannot meet with the TPLF leaders.

“This conflict is already seriously destabilizing the region,” European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Tuesday after meeting with Ethiopia’s foreign minister.

“Both sides should immediately begin dialogue facilitated by the AU,” the national security adviser for U.S. president-elect Joe Biden, Jake Sullivan, tweeted.

The Tigray regional leader, Debretsion Gebremichael, could not immediately be reached Wednesday as tensions were high among Mekele’s residents.

The TPLF dominated Ethiopia’s government for more than a quarter-century, but was sidelined after Mr. Abiy took office in 2018 and sought to centralize power. The TPLF opted out when Abiy dissolved the ruling coalition, then infuriated the federal government by holding an election in September after national elections were postponed by COVID-19. Each side now regards the other as illegal.

One Ethiopian military official claims that more than 10,000 “junta forces” have been “destroyed” since the fighting began on Nov. 4, when Mr. Abiy accused the TPLF of attacking a military base. Colonel Abate Nigatu told the Amhara Mass Media Agency that more than 15,000 heavy weapons and small arms had been seized.

Story continues below advertisement

The international community has urgently called for communications to be restored to the Tigray region so warring sides’ claims can be investigated, and so food and other desperately needed supplies can be sent as hunger grows. The UN says it has been unable to send supplies into Tigray and that people there are “terrified.”

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people have been killed in three weeks of fighting. More than 40,000 refugees have fled into Sudan. And nearly 100,000 Eritrean refugees at camps in northern Tigray have come close to the line of fire.

Misery continues for the refugees in Sudan, with little food, little medicine, little shelter, little funding and little or no contact with loved ones left behind in Tigray. “We are absolutely not ready,” said Suleiman Ali Mousa, the governor of Qadarif province.

“Help us so that we don’t die,” said one refugee, Terhas Adiso. “We came from war. We were scared we were going to die from the war and we came here, we don’t want to die of hunger, disease. If they are going to help us they need to help us quickly. That’s all I am going to say.”

Meanwhile, reports continue of alleged targeting of ethnic Tigrayans, even outside Ethiopia. Three soldiers serving with the UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan were ordered home on the weekend, the force said in a statement. The Associated Press has confirmed the repatriated soldiers are Tigrayan.

“If personnel are discriminated against because of their ethnicity or any other reason, this could involve a human rights violation under international law,” the statement said.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Abiy’s government has said it aims to protect civilians, including Tigrayans, but reports continue of arrests, discrimination, house-to-house searches and frozen bank accounts.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies