Ethiopia's PM accuses Tigray of attacking federal forces

FILE PHOTO: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks during a media conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, October 29, 2018. Michel Euler/Pool via REUTERS

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accused the regional government of Tigray of attacking federal forces stationed there, adding that federal troops will use force to secure the nation.

In September, Tigray held regional elections in defiance of the federal government, which called the vote “illegal”.

The row between the federal government and the party that rules Tigray, TPLF, has escalated in recent days with both sides accusing each other of plotting to use military force.

“The last point of the red line has been crossed,” Abiy said in a statement on Twitter early on Wednesday.

Debrestion Gebremichael, the president of Tigray region, told a news conference on Monday that Abiy’s government was planning to attack the region to punish it for holding the September election.

Tigrayans ruled Ethiopian politics since guerrilla fighters ousted a Marxist dictator in 1991, but their influence has waned under Abiy and last year, the TPLF quit his ruling coalition.

Tigray’s population makes up 5% of Ethiopia’s 109 million people, but its history in politics means it is wealthier and more influential than many other, larger regions.

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