ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Ethiopia said Monday that the leaders of the renegade Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) would be facing charges of high treason, terrorism and attacking a neighboring state.
The announcement was made at a joint press briefing given by Attorney General Gedion Timothewos and Redwan Hussein, State Minister for Foreign Affairs and spokesperson for the State of Emergency Task Force.
According to Timothewos, the TPLF was guilty of “impeding the defensive power of the State of Ethiopia,” and under the ongoing criminal investigation, that would constitute high treason.
The TPLF leadership would also be facing charges of attacks against the territorial integrity and constitutional order of the country, both qualifying as high treason, he said.
The successive times the TPLF admittedly fired rockets on the lakeside resort city of Bahir Dar and the historic city of Gondar in the neighboring Amhara region would also constitute terrorism, he added.
The TPLF leadership would also be indicted for the rockets fired against a neighboring and friendly state.
“So far, 167 suspects have been identified,” he said, adding some have already been arrested.
- Mekele besieged
Hussein said the city of Mekele was totally encircled by the Ethiopian Defense Forces as a 72-hour deadline issued by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for TPLF leaders and fighters to surrender was approaching.
“This group [TPLF] is now limited to Mekele,” he said, “It is now high time that the people of Tigray said enough is enough.”
He said TPLF forces had destroyed the airport in the ancient town of Axum, bulldozing the runway before escaping from the city.
“We have enough reason to believe they would render derelict sacred places in Mekele. The TPLF already destroyed six bridges and other roads,” he said.
According to Hussein, in offering a 72-hour ultimatum, the government hoped the people of Tigray would understand the reality on the ground versus what they had been made to believe through hoaxes and TPLF propaganda.
- Visiting delegation
Over the weekend, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed a three-member delegation to come to Ethiopia to meet Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Africa’s youngest leader and winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
However, the government said there would not be mediation on the Tigray issue.
“Facts on the ground have now changed,” Hussein said. “All other options will be possible to discuss except bringing the group to the table as a legitimate entity.”