On November 2, good news emerged from a peacemaking summit in Pretoria, South Africa. Nearly two years after a civil war began in Ethiopia, leaders from the Ethiopian government and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) announced a ceasefire. The war has left hundreds of thousands of people dead, including many civilians. It has displaced millions more from the Tigray region, many of whom have fled to Sudan. Those who remain behind have faced dire shortages of food and medical care, especially after the Ethiopian government cut off supply lines to the region. International bodies have accused the government of using starvation as a weapon to cow residents into submission.
The conflict began on November 3, 2020, when Tigray special forces attacked an Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) base in the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle, after months of tension. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered ENDF troops to capture the city. He also collaborated with Eritrean forces—which have their own historic animosity toward Tigrayans because of their role in the Ethiopian-Eritrean War of 1998–2000—as they attacked the TPLF from the north. Since then, however, the TPLF has recaptured Mekelle, advanced into the neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar, and almost marched on the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
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