Ethiopia’s government has removed the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) from its terrorism list, marking a major step in establishing an interim government for the Tigray region following a two year civil war.
The TPLF dominated Ethiopian politics as the ruling party from 1991 until 2018, when current Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office. The conflict began when forces of the TPLF attacked the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) Northern Command headquarters in Mekelle on November 3, 2020, leaving several soldiers dead and leading to further clashes. The breakout of fighting was the boiling point as tensions rose for weeks prior after the TPLF, the ruling party in Tigray, held elections in defiance of the government due to COVID-19 restrictions. The ensuing civil conflict saw tens of thousands killed with millions more being displaced amid human rights abuses and war crimes.
Last October saw the beginning of peace negotiations in South Africa, where a permanent ceasefire was signed on November 2, a day before the two year anniversary marking the start of the civil war. The TPLF also agreed to disarm as aid shipments resumed into the Tigray region, where over 90 percent of the population is in need of food, according to the World Health Organization.
The decision to delist the TPLF was not unanimous, however, as government opposition lawmakers argued that the TPLF has not held up its side of the peace deal. Dessalegn Chanie, a lawmaker from the opposition National Movement of Amhara (NAMA), told Reuters that “When it comes to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, none of them are fulfilled. The federal government should guarantee to the public that TPLF won’t wage another round of war.”