State of Emergency in Ethiopia
Ethiopia recently declared Emergency in the southern part of Amhara region as violence broke out in various parts. The violence in Ethiopia has been increased and insecurity is extending beyond war hit Tigray regions of Ethiopia ahead of National Elections planned in June.
What is the issue?
The violence in the region began after an ethnic Oromo Imam was shot dead outside a mosque. This increased the clashes between the Ethnic Oromo civilians and the Amhara Security forces. The Amhara region is dominated by the ethnic Amhara group. On the other hand, the Oromo Special Zone is populated by the Oromos. The Oromos are numerically dominant.
What is the issue between Amhara and Oromo?
Till 1991, the Ethiopian politics was dominated by Amhara. However, the Oromo was the largest ethnic group in the country. This created an ethnic conflict between the groups. Due to the conflict, many moved to the US as refugees, asylees and permanent residents.
The Tigray region of Ethiopia is ruled by the powerful Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). In 2018, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed made peace with Eritrea for which he won Nobel Peace Prize in 2019. TPPLF sees Eritrea as its enemy.
In August 2020, Abiy postponed the general elections to 2021 citing COVID-19 pandemic. The TPLF accused him of power grab and held elections in Tigray region in September 2020. This increased the tensions.
Ethnic Divide in Ethiopia
The Tigray people make up 6% of the Ethiopian populations. The Oromos share 34% and the Amhara share 27%.