Speed Reads

the road to peace?

Ethiopia releases opposition leaders in attempt to open dialogue

The Ethiopian government announced Friday it had released several opposition leaders from prison in an attempt to open dialogue and achieve reconciliation following more than a year of war, Reuters reports. The newly freed prisoners include several leaders of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) as well as members of other ethnic and regional anti-government militias.

The TPLF was, from 1991 until 2018, the ruling party of Ethiopia and played an instrumental role in the 1991 toppling of the nation's Marxist dictatorship. Today, the TPLF is designated a terrorist group by the central government.

Fighting between, on one side, the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments and, on the other, the Tigray Defense Forces and a patchwork of smaller rebel groups, broke out in November when Tigrayan forces attacked an Ethiopian National Defense Force headquarters. Both side have reportedly committed war crimes.

Following Tigrayan withdrawals from parts of northern Ethiopia in late December, the war appears to be nearing its end. A statement from the Ethiopian government said opposition leaders were released because "[o]ne of the moral obligations of a victor is mercy."

Despite these attempts at rapprochement, the horrors of war have not entirely subsided. According to Reuters, an Ethiopian airstrike reportedly killed 56 people and injured 30 in a Tigrayan displaced persons camp late Friday.