Ethiopia was a large African nation in 1998, located in the Horn of Africa. It had a total area of 1,104,300 square kilometers and a population of around 70 million people. The population was composed predominantly of Ethiopians, with minority groups also present. Amharic was the official language, though Afar and Somali were also spoken. The predominant religion in Ethiopia was Christianity or Islam, with most people belonging to either the Ethiopian Orthodox or Sunni Muslim denominations. See dentistrymyth for Ethiopia in the year of 2015.
The economy of Ethiopia in 1998 was largely dependent on agriculture and industry, with coffee being an important export crop while manufacturing activities provided employment opportunities for many citizens. Education levels were relatively low in 1998 due to lack of resources and poverty levels within rural areas. Access to healthcare was also limited due to a lack of resources, though some government-funded health centers did exist in larger towns or cities. Despite these challenges, Ethiopia had made considerable progress over the past decade towards economic development and political reform.
Ethiopia. War broke out in May with neighboring Eritrea, after Ethiopia accused Eritrea of occupying an area around the town of Badme on what was considered Ethiopian territory (for description of the conflict, see Eritrea). Behind the conflict lay a time of irritation of economic nature. After independence in 1993, Eritrea continued to use the Ethiopian currency birr until 1997 when the country introduced its own currency nakfa. According to Countryaah, the capital of Ethiopia is Addis Ababa. Eritrea claimed that the currencies were equal, while in Ethiopia the nakfan was considered to be greatly overvalued and demanded that trade between the countries should be in hard currency. Eritrea responded by doubling the fees for handling Ethiopian goods in its ports and expelling Ethiopian customs and shipping personnel. Ethiopia then redirected all foreign trade from Eritrea to Djibouti and, after the outbreak of the fighting, closed most of the telephone lines to Eritrea, which severely limited the neighboring country’s contacts with the outside world.
The war became a heavy burden for the already strained economies of both countries. Ethiopia was granted a loan of DKK 42 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in October. dollars, then the central bank eased their currency regulations.
The trial for the past three years against former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam and his associates continued. A request from the defense for an end to the negotiations after more than 500 testimonies was rejected in July. However, in September, a larger number of senior officers were released from the old regime, of all judges, to reinforce the troops along the Eritrean border.
- Abbreviationfinder: What does ETH stand for in geography? Here, this 3 letter acronym refers to the country of Ethiopia.
Abiy announces victory in Tigray
Prime Minister Abiy announces that the military offensive against Tigray has ended and that the government army is controlling the state capital Mekelle. But according to some observers, TPLF has indeed retreated from the city but regrouped in the surrounding area. TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael says that the movement continues to fight and that the battle is not over. In a speech, Abiy thanks neighboring Eritrea for allowing Ethiopian troops to cross the border in the hunt for TPLF soldiers. According to the think tank International Crisis Group (ICG), thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, both soldiers and civilians.
Government forces launch “final offensive”
Prime Minister Abiy orders a “final offensive” against the TPLF: forces after a 72-hour deadline have expired without being complied with by the TPLF. The government army attacks Tigray’s capital Mekelle. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appeals to Ethiopian leaders to do everything possible to protect the civilian population. The USA, the EU and others are calling for mediation via the AU, but Abiy rejects negotiations.
“The massacre in Mai-Kidra was aimed at non-tigers”
The massacre in Mai-Kidra in western Tigray on November 9 claimed at least 600 lives and targeted non-Tigranian seasonal workers on farms in the area. It was carried out by a local youth group called Samri, with the support of local militias and police. It writes the Independent State Institute Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which monitors the human rights situation in the country. The head of the EHRC has been appointed by Prime Minister Abiy. Amnesty Internationalhas previously reported that images and video footage from the site of the massacre indicate that hundreds of people were killed. The Mai-Kidra massacre is the worst known act of violence committed during the conflict in Tigray. The murders were committed with, among other things, sticks, knives, picks and a machete. However, Tigranes who fled from Mai-Kidra to eastern Sudan accuse Ethiopian forces of killing civilians in the city. The UN wants to see an impartial and detailed investigation of what happened in Mai-Kidra. During the first days of the military offensive, fierce fighting was fought in Mai-Kidra and throughout western Tigray, but the area is now under the control of the government army.
Ethiopia asks the outside world to stay out
The UN Security Council meets to discuss the fighting in Tigray for the first time. No statement is made after the meeting, many African countries want the AU to have more time to resolve the conflict through mediation. Prime Minister Abiy urges the outside world to stay out of the conflict until Ethiopia asks for outside support. He describes the conflict as an internal matter.
Millions of children in urgent need of help
20th of November
The conflict in Tigray has led to about 2.3 million children in the state in urgent need of emergency assistance, reports the UN Children’s Fund Unicef. According to the UN, at least 36,000 refugees have now reached the camp in eastern Sudan, where sanitary conditions are described as poor. The UN appeals to the outside world to contribute quickly to humanitarian aid.
New rockets against Amhara
20th of November
The TPLF in Tigray fires rockets at the neighboring state of Amhara’s capital “Bahir Dar during the night, but all three rockets are said to have missed the target and not caused any damage. Assessors believe that the target was the city’s airport, a mast for telecommunications and a state news agency. The TPLF does not comment on the information, which cannot be confirmed as communications in the area have been shut down by the Ethiopian government.
Government Army marches on Tigray’s “capital”
Prime Minister Abiy announces that government forces are now marching on Tigray’s “capital” Mekelle. He says that TPLF has burned bridges on the roads towards the city and that they also destroyed a stretch of road between Mekelle and the cities of Shire and Axum. The day before, a three-day deadline expired for TPLF to capitulate, Abiy announces. Sources inside Tigray, where most communications have been cut off, testify to large civilian casualties and large numbers of internally displaced persons. The UN also warns that the number of refugees within the state is large. Nearly 30,000 people have now gone to the camp in Sudan and the UN warns of a “full-scale humanitarian crisis”.
Rocket fire on Eritrea
The fighting in Tigray has spread to Eritrea. TPLF tells the media that their forces have fired rockets at the neighboring capital Asmara, including at the airport. According to the TPLF, Eritrean troops are assisting Ethiopia’s federal forces in the fight against the TPLF’s troops in Tigray, which Ethiopia denies.
TPLF fires at airports in Amhara
The TPLF reports that their forces have fired on the military parts of the airports in Gondar and Bahir Dar in the state of Amhara south of Tigray. The shelling took place on the evening of 13 November. The government in Addis Ababa confirms that one of the airports was damaged, and a doctor tells the media that two soldiers were killed and up to 15 were injured in the attacks. Assessors fear that Amhara will also be drawn into the conflict, as the two neighboring states disagree on certain areas of land at the common border. According to the local military, thousands of Amhara militias have joined the fighting on the side of the government army. According to Tigray’s leader Debretsion Gebremichael, hundreds of thousands of people in the region have become internally displaced and thousands of others have fled to Sudan.
AI reports massacres of civilians
Amnesty International (AI) reports that scores of – probably hundreds – of civilians were killed in a “massacre” in the town of Mai-Kadra (May Cadera) in southwestern Tigray on November 9. In photos and videos, the victims appear to have been stabbed to death with knives or machete, according to the human rights organization. Eyewitnesses say the massacre was committed by militiamen loyal to the TPLF after suffering defeat against federal forces, but Amnesty stresses that the information is unconfirmed. This is the first time a major civilian assault has been reported in Tigray since fighting broke out a week earlier. Federal forces report military success in western Tigray while the UN appeals for humanitarian aid to an estimated two million people in Tigray. The flow of refugees to eastern Sudan continues.
Thousands flee across the border into Sudan
Authorities in Sudan have reported that thousands of Ethiopians are fleeing across the border from the fighting in Tigray. A refugee camp is under construction in Sudan. The UN agency UNHCR expresses concern for more than 96,000 Eritrean refugees living in four camps inside Tigray. Ethiopian government forces have taken control of Tigray Airport, according to Ethiopian state media. Federal police report that 17 military officers in Tigray have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the alleged attack on the northern command.
A number of senior executives are replaced
Prime Minister Abiy replaces a number of people in top positions, such as the army chief, the foreign minister, the equivalent of the national police chief and the head of the intelligence service. Unconfirmed reports come in of hundreds of soldiers killed and injured on both sides of the Tigray conflict. Abiy says the political leadership in Tigray is trying to destabilize the country and stop democratic reforms by “financing, training and equipping various armed resistance groups”, such as the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).
The conflict in Tigray is rapidly worsening
At the same time as the government side is telling the media that fighter jets are being used against military targets in Tigray, the parliament in Addis Ababa is voting to oust the state government and replace it with a transitional minister. Tigray’s government counters that it no longer recognizes the supremacy of Addis Ababa. Reports are coming in of an unknown number of dead and injured in both Tigray and the neighboring state of Amhara. The TPLF militia is said to be firing rockets at Ethiopian aircraft. It is unclear whether the government side or the TPLF militia controls the so-called northern command in Mekele, which is an important part of the Ethiopian military. The northern command is also located near the border with Eritrea, where the government has begun to gather forces at the border with Tigray. The ruling party in Eritrea is an arch-enemy of the TPLF.
State of emergency and military offensive in Tigray
The Abiy government is ordering a military offensive and a six-month state of emergency in the state of Tigray. According to Abiy, the militia led by Tigray’s leading party, the TPLF, has attacked the northern command base in the state, which the TPLF denies. Many people are said to have been killed and injured in the attack, according to Abiy. Internet and mobile connections are blocked in Tigray. This further increases the tension between Tigray’s TPLF management and the central government in Addis Ababa. Some observers warn that civil war could break out. The UN and the United States call for calm and reflection. TPLF dominated Ethiopian politics for three decades until 2018 when Abiy from the Oromo people became prime minister.
“Massacres” on Amhari in Oromia
The rebel group Oromo’s Liberation Army (OLA) kills at least 32 Amharic civilians in a “massacre” in Oromia, the country’s government and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) say. Amnesty Internationalindicates the death toll to at least 54. Up to 60 OLA rebels are attacking civilian Amharis in three villages in the Wollega district in the west. The victims are said to have been forced out of their homes and taken to a school building where they were executed. The villages were then looted on cattle and then set on fire. OLA has previously committed kidnappings and bombings in western and southern Ethiopia. The massacre is carried out after government soldiers stationed around the villages unexpectedly abandon their postings and leave the field free of the rebels, according to eyewitnesses. The EHRC and Amnesty International are urging the authorities to investigate why government troops abandoned the villages. OLA broke away from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) when the guerrilla group made peace with the government in Addis Ababa in 2018.