Citing Threats, TPLF Stages Military Parades

By Staff Reporter

Tigray-military-paradeAugust 2, 2020 ( -- Several military parades were staged in Mekele city and other towns of Tigray region for undisclosed reasons.

The regional government said nothing about the purpose of the parades but the Peace and Security Bureau of the region on its Facebook page said “We are ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of peace”

The parades’ participants who were largely members of the region’s special force and militiamen were seen carrying light and heavy weapons.

Clad in military uniform, the parade participants under the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) marched along the main streets of the city and finally gathered in Mekele stadium.

“The peace of a given people relies not on external protection but on internal capacity,” the bureau further said.

The Tigray government once again said it has faced pressures from both the federal government and external forces including from neighboring Eritrea after it decided to hold regional elections this month.

The central government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been sending conflicting messages over the Tigray issue in the last few months. Earlier, it indicated it will take unspecified measures if the TPLF goes ahead with its plan to hold elections.

Recently, PM Abiy Ahmed all but ruled out military action against the TPLF. “There have been provocations but we will not go to war against the political party which is nearing collapse,” said Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in a recent address to members of opposition political parties.

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) had said it will not be able to hold elections while the country is under the state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, TPLF believed that the Prosperity Party wants to stay in power indefinitely by postponing the elections using the pandemic as an excuse.

Despite the decision by the parliament, the Tigray regional government is still insisting on its plan to hold the elections this month. It formed a regional election commission that oversees the elections, a move the House of Federation opposed firmly.

Meanwhile, the government of Ethiopia announced the launching of nationwide testing for COVID-19 to determine how much of the population has been exposed to coronavirus.

In a twitter post, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said “increased testing is key to know the spread of COVID-19 at the national level so as to help the government make effective decisions on various fronts.”

Patients undergoing blood tests for unrelated conditions, or general blood panels, will be offered serological tests as well.

It is not clear if the government has adequate testing kits to conduct the testing for a population of 110 million people.

The Prime Minister called upon all stakeholders to participate and encourage various segments of the society to get tested, in line with the country’s Ministry of Health’s plans.

COVID 19 cases are said to be on the rise in many parts of the country, especially in the capital Addis Ababa. The nation last Friday reported record 915 new cases of coronavirus.

The total number of confirmed cases in the country now stands at more than 18,000 with 284 deaths and 7,195 recoveries.

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