On January 14 2020 Ethiopian government declared the death of three former top Ethiopian officials including the nation’s long-serving retired foreign minister and veteran diplomat Seyoum Mesfin, a retired former minister Abay Tsehaye and former government whip in the Parliament, Asmelash Woldeselassie who could never defend himself during the fight in the region of Tigray.
The Tigray War is an ongoing armed conflict that began in November 2020 in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia, between the Tigray Regional Government led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and forces supporting Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, with the latter also receiving support from president Isaias Afwerki’s Eritrean Forces.
The tension between Tigray and Addis grew due to differences in the way out for a peaceful power transition. While Tigray called for all inclusive dialogue, Addis demanded a dialogue between Addis and Tigray. Tigray remained firm in saying the problem of the country is beyond the problem between Tigray and Addis. All parties who have different interest and demand need to be invited and discussed with. The TPLF, a politically powerful entity that had dominated Ethiopian politics during those 30 years, refused to join the new party, and alleged that Abiy Ahmed became an illegitimate ruler by rescheduling the general elections set for 29 August 2020 (which Abiy postponed twice before from the regular May 2020 election date, before COVID-19) to an undetermined date due to COVID-19.
The TPLF, led by Chairman Debretsion Gebremichael, went ahead with regional elections in Tigray in September 2020 in defiance of the federal government, which declared the Tigray election illegal. Several journalists were barred by the federal government (at Addis Ababa airport) from traveling to cover Tigray’s regional election.
Fighting between the TPLF and the Federal Government began with the 4 November attacks on the Northern Command bases and headquarters of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) in Tigray Region by TPLF aligned security forces and with attacks by the ENDF in the Tigray Region on the same day. The federal forces captured the Tigrayan capital Mekelle on 28 November, after which Prime Minister Abiy declared the Tigray operation ‘over’., however the death of three former top Ethiopian officials including the nation’s long-serving retired foreign minister and veteran diplomat Seyoum Mesfin and a retired former minister Abay Tsehaye were executed after 48 days since the war was declared over by the Federal government. Mass extrajudicial killings of civilians took place during November and December 2020 in and around Adigrat and Hagere Selam, in the Hitsats refugee camp, and in Humera, Mai Kadra and the Maryam Ts’iyon church.