Lazy eyes listen
Ethiopia’s defense minister, Abraham Belay, has announced plans for a referendum to ensure that the territorial conflicts of the Tigray and Amhara regions are resolved in conformity with constitutional law and a peace settlement struck last November.
Belay claimed on Tuesday in a Facebook post that the minister addressed to the Pretoria Agreement and the problems of locals and over 2.5 million people displaced by Tigray’s two-year civil war.
“We are working hard to address issues that have been neglected and are causing serious harm to our people.” Residents in these districts will also have a firm foundation for electing and governing their own governors, he said.
In 2020, Ethiopia’s northern Tigray area suffered a fierce battle, which concluded in November when the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front signed the Pretoria Agreement, an African Union-mediated peace agreement signed in the South African capital.
According to the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), the Tigray War will be the world’s bloodiest conflict in 2022, with well over 100,000 people killed.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than 2.6 million people have been internally displaced as a result of the violence, which has exacerbated famine-like circumstances in the region.
The military minister of the East African country stated on Tuesday, “Work is being done to ensure the safety and peace of the displaced people.”
“The people will return to their homes soon and establish their own administration in a manner that ensures their constitutional rights,” he continued.
The region’s contested territory is the Western Tigray Zone, where Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have both accused Amhara regional security forces and local administrations of ethnic cleansing against Tigrayans.
During the war, Amhara militias fought alongside the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) against Tigrayan troops, capturing territory and driving away tens of thousands of Tigrayans.
Belay stated that the government will dismantle regimes “in areas where an illegal administration has been established,” adding that “the ENDF will ensure that there are no other armed forces except the federal security forces.”
Heavy combat erupted earlier this month between the ENDF and the local Amhara’s Fano militia in response to the government’s decision to integrate regional troops into the federal police or military.
Authorities imposed a six-month state of emergency last week in reaction to the violence in Bahir Dar, Gondar, Lalibela, and other places, which has resulted in scores of deaths.