“This situation has reached a level that cannot be prevented and controlled through the normal law enforcement mechanism,” said a statement issued by Abiy’s office on Wednesday.
The state of emergency will last for six months and is supervised by a task force led by the Army Commander.
The decree gives the federal government broad powers to “protect the peace and sovereignty of the country, and maintain public security and law and order,” including the suspension of political and democratic rights, in accordance with the Ethiopian constitution.
The statement was issued hours after the prime minister ordered a military operation in the area earlier on Wednesday.
A previous statement said, “The federal government used all means to thwart the military clash against the TPLF” amid increasing tensions between the federal government and the ruling party in the Tigray region, but “the last red line has been crossed.”
My father pledged that the mission “will save the country and the region from slipping into instability.”
Details of the attack on the military base are still unclear, but Abiy accused the TPLF of trying to “steal” an artillery base and military equipment.
Abe’s office said that the TPLF was manufacturing military clothing similar to those of the Eritrean National Defense Forces to implicate the Eritrean government in false allegations of aggression.
Internet services were shut down in the Tigray region at 1 a.m. local time Wednesday, according to internet monitoring group Netblocks.
TPLF dominated the ruling coalition in Ethiopia for nearly 30 years before mass anti-government protests brought Abiy to power in 2018. Tensions between the party and the federal government have escalated in recent months due to regional and national elections and the military assets based in the Tigray region. According to the International Crisis Group.
Earlier this year, the Ethiopian government indefinitely postponed all elections previously scheduled for August due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Tigray region decided to hold its own regional elections in September, which the federal government described as “illegal”.