AU Commission chair calls for “cessation of hostilities” in Ethiopia

Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, speaks at a summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on February 09, 2020. (Photo: Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat says he is following the escalating military confrontation in Ethiopia with concern.

The Chadian head of the AU’s Addis Ababa-based executive body called for an immediate cessation to hostilities in the country, which erupted last week when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced a military intervention against the leaders of the northern region of Tigray.

PM Abiy accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which is the region’s ruling party, of attacking a federal military base and attempting to steal weapons, before declaring a state of emergency and limiting access to phone and internet services.

In a statement posted to social media Tuesday, Faki reaffirmed the AU’s “firm support” for Ethiopia’s constitutional order and territorial integrity, calling on the involved parties to engage in dialogue and “seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the country.”

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) say casualties from the fighting in Ethiopia’s far-north already number in the hundreds, with the TPLF insisting that they will continue to defend themselves against federal efforts to dislodge them from power in the region.