Ethiopia’s parliament has removed the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) from a list of terrorist organisations in what is seen as a major step towards implementing a peace process following a two-year civil war.
The conflict ended with a truce signed in Pretoria last November after tens of thousands of people were killed and millions forced from their homes.
The Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) – a regional grouping of seven African nations – welcomed the decision by Ethiopia.
“The decision is in line with the permanent Cessation of hostilities Agreement signed in November 2022 in Pretoria,” says Workneh Gebeyehu, the Executive Secretary of IGAD. “The move will strengthen confidence between the parties.”
The United Nations estimates that the conflict has affected over 9.7 million people in the country’s northern region.
The country’s lawmakers, who labelled the group as a terror organisation in May 2021, said reversing the decision “was essential for implementing the peace agreement”.
Here’s what we know about TPLF
· The Tigray People’s Liberation Front Liberation Front started in 1975 as a small guerilla group in Northern Ethiopia
· From 1989 to 2018, it led a political coalition called the Ethiopia Revolutionary Democratic Front
· It spearheaded the fight against the Derg regime that ruled the country for 17 years under Major Mengistu Haile Mariam. The rule was overthrown in 1991
· The TPLF installed a new government in Ethiopia in 1991 and remained in power
· TPLF was removed from federal government control in 2018 after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed assumed power
· On November 3, 2020, TPLF launched a “war” against the federal government
· In 2021, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia cancelled TPLF’s registration as a political movement, accusing it of engaging in armed conflict.
· On May 6, 2021, the Ethiopian parliament listed TPLF as a terrorist group
· On November 2, 2022, the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the TPLF signed a peace deal in Pretoria, South Africa, to end the two-year conflict in Northern Ethiopia.