By Boris Esono Nwenfor
H.E Olusegun Obasanjo, High Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for the horn of Africa has appealed to the leadership of both sides involved in the crisis in Ethiopia to halt their military offensives for “dialogue to continue to progress.”
In a communiqué dated 13 November 2021, H.E Olusegun Obasanjo said “such talks cannot deliver in an environment of escalated military hostilities… War represents a failure of politics. Thus, dialogue remains the only reliable and sustainable avenue to peace. There is no military solution to the conflict and battlefield victory cannot guarantee political stability in Ethiopia,” He said.
The former Nigerian president has had encouraging meetings with the leaders of the Oromia and Amhara regions while he has scheduled to meet the leadership of the Afar region upon his return to Ethiopia. The High Representative of the Chairperson of the AU has also met the leaders of Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti, South Sudan, Somalia and Sudan.
The ongoing violence has created a humanitarian crisis in the country as over five million Tigrayans urgently need relief aid, and at least 400,000 are in famine-like conditions, the UN says. Some 25,000 refugees have fled to Sudan.
“I am optimistic that common ground towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict can be secured. The interlocutors I have engaged on all sides have stated their wish for peace, security and stability in Ethiopia. The main point of difference between the actors is how they seek to achieve this essential objective,” H.E Obasanjo, High Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for the horn of Africa added.
H.E Olusegun Obasanjo further called on individuals and leaders across Africa and the international community to support the ongoing mediation process and to refrain from actions, rhetoric that will wittingly or unwittingly worsen the conflict.
“I, too, remain dedicated to the cause of peace and we will continue to work towards this goal, without which human security and development cannot be achieved,” H.E Olusegun Obasanjo concluded.
Ethiopia air forces on Monday, November 8, dropped bombs in and around Mekelle according to reports by Reuters. Ethiopia’s task force said they have “liberated” Alamata from the TPLF.
The yearlong war has killed thousands of people and displaced hundreds more. Tensions between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF intensified in 2018 when current Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power. It degenerated into violence last year when the TPLF attacked a military base of the Ethiopian armed forces and PM Ahmed’s order of a military offensive into the region.
The Ethiopian government did claim several successes against the TPLF but that was short-lived as the rebel forces came back with full force and are now reported about 186 miles from the capital. Worse still, other groups and opposition out of the country have now linked up to oust PM Abiy.