The Ethiopian government launched a massive security operation against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front last year.
Ethiopia has added two armed groups to its “terrorism list,” including the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), against which it launched a massive security operation late last year.
The Cabinet on Saturday approved a resolution designating the TPLF as a “terrorist” organization, alongside OLF-Shene, after several attacks in different parts of the country targeting civilians and public infrastructure over the past two years.
This decision, approved by a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, could lead to further prosecutions and the arrest of members and supporters of the groups.
A statement issued by the prime minister’s office said the two groups “operate like terrorists and their leadership or decision-makers have recognized or are carrying out destructive activities on the nation.”
He added that the ruling would apply to organizations and individuals who collaborate with, have ties to or are linked to the ideas and actions of designated “terrorist” organizations.
Local broadcaster FANA reported that the Council of Ministers listed the two groups because of their activities of arming, training and funding other violent elements in addition to carrying out attacks themselves.
They launched attacks on civilians and public infrastructure to achieve political goals, FANA reported.
Abiy accused TPLF forces to attack the Ethiopian army on November 3 and kill soldiers as they slept and loot military equipment – prompting the Ethiopian government to launch a massive law enforcement operation. The TPLF says the attack was a preemptive raid.
On November 28, Abiy declared the military confrontation over after the fall of the regional capital Mekelle to the federal army.
But the fight has continued recently in central and southern Tigray, conflict prevention group ICG, a Brussels-based think tank, said in a briefing note released in early April.
The number of fighters loyal to the TPLF is likely on the rise due to growing fury at the atrocities, he said.
The violence follows years of tension between the TPLF and the central government, in a conflict that has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and caused massive destruction.
The Ethiopian government is also involved in operations against OLA, a dissident military group of the Oromo Liberation Front, mainly in the Oromia region.
The government alleges that the OLA is killing civilians and causing destruction in the Oromia region and other parts of the country.
On Friday, the government accused the group of killing 15 civilians.
The OLA denied responsibility for the alleged attacks and accused the government of the killings.
For the cabinet’s proposal to go into effect, it would need to be approved by Ethiopian lawmakers.