Ethiopia’s Tigray War Is Fueling Amhara Expansionism

APRIL 28, 2021, 4:28 AM

Abiy Ahmed depends on the support of ethnic Amhara leaders and militias whose goal is to reconquer what they consider lost territories—from Tigray to Sudan.

By Kjetil Tronvoll, an anthropologist and professor at Bjorknes University College in Oslo.  

ethiopia amhara militias tigray

The war in Tigray, the northernmost region of Ethiopia, is ostensibly about political control. The federal government’s stated objective is to arrest the political and military leadership of the ousted regional government in what it still refers to as a law enforcement operation. But among the ethnic Amhara political elite, it is seen as a war to regain territories lost in 1991. Being the second-largest ethnic group in the country, the Amhara militia and special forces have been pivotal in the war campaign. Western and southern parts of Tigray are thus currently being incorporated under Amhara administration and control despite protests from the interim regional government in Tigray.

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