by H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

August 12, 2021

ADDIS ABABA — Forces from Ethiopia’s rebellious Tigray region said on Wednesday they were in talks to form a military alliance with insurgents from Ethiopia’s most populous region, Oromiya, piling pressure on Addis Ababa’s central government.

The move, which comes a day after the government urged citizens to join the fight against resurgent Tigrayan forces, could signal an escalation in the country’s nine-month-old war.

The TPLF controls the Tigray region in Ethiopia’s north, and its forces have been fighting federal troops in a conflict that has resulted in a massive refugee crisis since November.  In recent weeks, the conflict has spread into two neighboring regions, Afar and Amhara, displacing approximately 250,000 people and raising international concerns about the wider destabilization of Africa’s second most populous nation.

The Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) is a splinter group of the Oromo Liberation Front, a formerly banned opposition group that returned from exile after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018.

Fighting between federal troops and the TPLF has forced over two million people to flee their homes, with over 50,000 fleeing into neighboring Sudan.  After Tigrayan forces recaptured the regional capital of Mekelle in June, the government declared a unilateral ceasefire.  Tigrayan forces have rejected the ceasefire, claiming that the government should agree to their terms for a truce.