African Union Commission chairperson says military action in Tigray ‘legitimate’

The military action Ethiopia took against the rebellious Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) was “legitimate”, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat has said.

“The federal government took bold steps to preserve the unity, stability and respect for the constitutional order in Ethiopia,” Mahamat said on Sunday while addressing the 38th Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Extraordinary Summit held in Djibouti.

Late last month, the government of Ethiopia claimed victory after it took control of Mekelle, Tigray’s regional capital after three weeks of fighting with forces of TPLF which had administered the region for nearly three decades.

Mahamat had been calling for a ceasefire and respect of human rights amid fighting after Addis Ababa launched an offensive on November 4, 2020, against TPLF which was accused of attacking a military base in Tigray region.

Heads of states from Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti – among others – were present during the summit, and the regional body seems to have supported what the government of Ethiopia called law enforcement operation in the Tigray region.

The AU chairperson emphasized the humanitarian challenges that the law enforcement operation has caused, and called on member states of IGAD to support Ethiopia to address the problem.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed gratitude for the clarity that IGAD has regarding Ethiopia’s military operation in the north which is said to have been completed following the capture of Mekele although hunting TPLF leaders continues.

“I express my deepest gratitude to IGAD leaders for understanding and acknowledging our law enforcement measures as legal and legitimate, as well as for expressing commitment to supporting Ethiopia,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wrote on his social media page on Sunday.

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