The Ethiopian government on Wednesday began restricting telephone and Internet services to the troubled Tigray region. A few hours later, Prime Minister Abi Ahmed ordered the army to attack.
Access Now, a rights group, said the region was closed to the world after imposing a six-month state of emergency on Ethiopia, accusing Addis Ababa of threatening its sovereignty.”The Ethiopian government has shut down the Internet again,” Access said.
“Mobile network, fixed line internet and landline telephony have been reduced in Tigray. The Prime Minister (Abi Ahmed) has declared a state of emergency and ordered military intervention against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.”The Ethiopian National Guard is lurking in a camp and trying to snatch weapons from the camp, the Abyssinian office said in a statement on Wednesday.As of Thursday morning, calls to sources in Tigre were no longer offline on their internet platforms. Addis Ababa did not elaborate on the cut-off claims.
Jacken Publishing Plc, an Ethiopian group owned by Addis Standard, provided the editorial, asking open channels to enter the area and report on the incident.
“Reporting on conflicts is not always easy, but it is important for journalists to reach out to geographical resources to update the world on the situation and safety of citizens at risk of falling victim to such conflicts,” the news agency said.”As an Ethiopian-based independent media organization, we are concerned about the safety of our citizens and have a responsibility to provide real-time updates to the local and international community.”Authorities in Ethiopia often restrict Internet communication when there is a security issue. Ethiopian internet shut down in July over deadly protests over activist, popular musician Hachalu Hyundai’s assassination
Tensions escalated on Wednesday evening as the TPLF, one of the country’s ten federal territories with an autonomous region, responded by banning any air services in the region.A statement issued by the local government warned against any military movement near the border. Threatened to take action against any forces trying to cross local borders.When Addis Ababa ordered troops to attack the TPLF, the region stated that all federal forces in Tigray had “decided to stand with Tigray in the fight to eliminate PB”.
It called on all federal forces to leave the central government and join the TPLF-led struggle.Some analysts say it raises tensions rather than chilling the PM. Rashid Abdi, a Kenyan researcher on geopolitics in the Gulf and the Horn of Africa, tweeted that it was difficult for the Ethiopian military to maintain ethnic diversity.”The Ethiopian military, the most ethnically diverse organization, has a strong national ethic and is well versed in racism and nationalism,” he said.”It will be interesting to see how it responds to Abby’s call for an attack. It will break the army – it will be a dangerous situation.”