After two years of war, Ethiopia reached a peace agreement with its Tigray region Wednesday. Both sides signed a “permanent cessation of hostilities,” officially ending the nation’s civil war. Tigray will surrender its weapons and yield control to the Ethiopian government.
The war began in 2020, two years after the election of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. People from the Tigray region had long held power in Ethiopia. But Abiy’s appointment as prime minister changed that. Tigray’s leaders wanted him gone.
When Abiy delayed national elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tigray held its own election. Ethiopia’s leaders declared that election illegal. Violence broke out between Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
The war’s true cost remains unknown. Officials believe hundreds of thousands of people have died. Both sides accuse one another of horrific abuses. The war also led to famine, devastating an already impoverished people. Ethnic violence ravaged Ethiopian villages. People killed one another simply because of where they had been born.
Now both sides promise to stop the violence. As part of the agreement, Ethiopia will end its anti-Tigray propaganda. Officials will no longer refer to Tigray’s leaders as terrorists. Ethiopia also pledged to send humanitarian aid to Tigray. But according to the United Nations, this aid has yet to arrive.
There are still challenges ahead, even with a peace agreement. One is getting both sides to lay down their arms. Hate and violence burned Ethiopia for two years. Healing takes time.
The agreement marks a major step toward peace. But as the Apostle John reminds us, it’s not enough to love with words. We must show love with our actions. (1 John 3:18) Abiy says Ethiopia’s government leaders will open their hearts for peace to prevail. Now leaders on both sides must prove their words with their deeds.
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. — 1 John 3:18
(Negotiators from Ethiopia’s government and Tigray shake hands after peace talks. AP/Themba Hadebe)