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Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is a National and Regional Threat to Peace and Stability in the Horn of Africa

November 19, 2020
FBelay, PhD.

On November 15, 2020 early in the morning, my aunt who is a mother of three young children boarded a bus in the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. She was going to see her ailing father in Beneshangul Gumuz. She boarded the bus with medicine and supplies for her father along with 34 other passengers. Mid way through the journey, the bus was pulled over by TPLF insurgents. The passengers were ordered to leave the bus and stabbed brutally one by one. My aunt died a brutal and senseless death on the side of the road in the countryside of Ethiopia. She was an innocent, kind woman who had no political affiliations or motivations.

My aunt’s story is similar to many other atrocities, brutalities and terrorist acts that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has been conducting throughout Ethiopia since its inception in 1968. This organization is a major threat to Ethiopia’s and the horn of Africa’s regional stability, peace and security. Unmitigated, it will destabilize the region and create a hotspot for the proliferation of terrorist organizations like Al-Shabab. Needless to mention the social crisis, mass displacements and the security threats the region and the world encounter.


Following the downfall of the Dergue regime in 1991, TPLF managed to occupy the central power and dominated Ethiopia’s geopolitical, social and economic spaces for 27 years. Soon after assuming power, it restructured a unitary country along ethnolinguistic lines using its self-proclaimed apartheid constitution. Many argue that this imposed ethnic federalism policy is primarily responsible for today’s atrocities and tragedies in the country.

Relentless public struggles and civil disobedience in April 2018 removed the TPLF leaders from the central power and brought Dr. Abiy Ahmed to the Prime Minister’s position.

Following the reform, TPLF leaders fled to Tigray region and engaged in undermining, delegitimizing and destabilizing the Federal governments’ authorities by sponsoring ethnic and religious violence in different parts of the country.

Attack on the National Defense Army

On November the third, while the world was preoccupied by the US election, TPLF’s special force and the local militia attacked the National Defense Army Base and committed one of the worst treasonous acts in human history.

A number of the National Defense Army were brutally murdered in the middle of the night and their bodies were deliberately left to decompose in the scorching sun in a deplorable manner.

The National Defense Army has been stationed in Tigray region for 21 years serving the Tigraian communities, protecting the boarder and ensuring peace and security. However, TPLF special force callously murdered the men and women in uniforms to advance its selfish interests.

Why Attacking the National Defense Base?

TPLF attacked the National Defense Army base for 3 main reasons.

First, they attacked to raid and gain control over the heavy artilleries. It is obvious that the National Army possesses heavy weaponries including missiles (short and long range), rockets, anti-aircrafts, launchers and others. Cognizant of this, TPLF special force attacked the Military base to gain control over these heavy weaponries and bolster its military power.

Second, should their first plan be materialized, their next step would have been to disarm the National Army and destabilize Ethiopia.

The third and final goal was to regain the central power using force. However, the brave National Army and the Amhara’s special military forces recuperated shortly and averted TPLF’s heinous plans which would have created unprecedented social crisis and civil war in Ethiopia.

Mai-Kadra Massacre

From its inception, TPLF has continued violating human rights and international laws, recruit and train child solders, atrocities, genocide and crimes against humanities in Ethiopia.

TPLF incited interethnic conflicts that have led to the massacres and displacements of tens of thousands of civilians. As a result, in 2019, more than 3 million Ethiopians have been internally displaced thorough the country.

On November 13, 2020, TPLF’s army and the militia massacred 585 innocent civilians in Mai-Kadra town in a horrifying manner. Men, women and children were gruesomely hacked to death using machetes, axes and knives.

TPLF’s Desperate Attempt to Internationalize

TPLF carried out a missile attack on Gonder and Bahirdar in Ethiopia and Asmara in Eritrea. This provocative attack was a desperate measure to internationalize the internal

affairs and to further destabilize the fragile region. However, Eritrea’s commendable restraint from retaliating thwarts TPLF’s attempt from externalizing the situations.

Disinformation/Misinformation Campaign

While the majority of Ethiopians at home and abroad were in shock over the Mai-Kadra’s gruesome massacres; heartless TPLF propogandists were preoccupying the news outlets and social media disinforming and deceiving the international communities.

TPLF’s paid lobbyists and ‘scholars’ in the west accused the Ethiopian government of starting ‘civil war’ against the Tigraian people. In reality, however, it is the TPLF’s special force that attacked the National Defense Army with the intention of destabilizing Ethiopia. On the other hand, the National Defense Army and the Amhara Special force are carrying out military intervention to neutralize TPLF’s aggression to save Ethiopia from slipping into civil war.

The international communities should support the Ethiopian government’s operation

to restore stability in the region while holding the TPLF terrorist groups accountable for their crimes against humanity.

Failure to effectively neutralize TPLF in a timely manner will result in unprecedented social crisis. The displacement of nearly 100 million people will destabilize the already precarious Horn of Africa and the entire continent. The region could also become a fertile ground for terrorist organizations like Al Shaba and poses significant challenges to global peace and stability


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