A JOURNEY TROUGH THE TESTIMONIES OF TIGRAY PEOPLE, THEIR DEATHS, THEIR FIGHTING IN THE RANKS OF "TDF", POVERTY AND HUNGER, AND THE FEELING THAT IS JUST A STALEMATE
On November 3, 2020, Ethiopia saw the start of an internal war pitting the federal forces of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner) against the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF), the paramilitary forces formed by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) party. The cause that led to the conflict was the TPLF's September 20, 2020 request to the National Election Board of Ethiopia to hold regional elections in Tigray. A northern region of Ethiopia, Tigray has been a major player in the country's history especially in recent decades due to its importance in both economic and political terms, playing a major role in the country's government. The government responded negatively to the request. The TPLF organized its own elections on its own. The result of the polls, according to the TPLF, issued the party's overwhelming victory, electing all its representatives to all available seats. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed did not recognize its validity, moreover banning foreign journalists from traveling to the country to document what was happening. On November 4, 2020, an attack by the TPLF on federal army military bases started the war. In 2021 and 2022, the war put the Region's 6 million inhabitants in extremely severe conditions. Between 500,000 and 1 million people died, 60 percent of them from starvation, and about 2 million were internally displaced, with whole bangs of people of Tigray origin forced to move from their home regions in search of shelter. Both from the east, in areas bordering Sudan, in Amhara and from the west, in Afar, millions have moved to the areas of Adwa and Axum, where some 350,000 refugees still reside. To combat the Tigrinya army, the federal government allied with militias from Amhara, Oromia (South Central Region of the country) and Eritrea, whose army launched an attack from the north pushing into Axum, Adwa, Adigrat as far as Makallè, the region's capital. The consequences were frightening: a famine that led to about 60 percent of the victims dying from causes due to malnutrition, the complete lack, in the 2 years of conflict, of electricity, drinking water and Internet, which is why Tigray was completely cut off from the rest of the world and unabled to communicate. On November 2, 2022, exactly 2 years after the beginning of the war, a cessation of hostilities was sanctioned in Pretoria, South Africa, between the Ethiopian government and Tigray regional forces. Despite the pact, troop mobilizations continue in areas especially on the border with Eritrea and there are still ongoing acts of guerrilla warfare and firefights in Amhara. As evidenced by the testimonies, many inhabitants have been victims of looting, killings, assaults and rape. The lack of food, water and electricity has multiplied the risk of epidemics due to the absence of medicines and the multiplication of parasites in the river water, the only one that can be used during the conflict. The refugees, stationed in several camps between Scirè, Axum and Adwa, arrived after hundreds of miles by foot, crossing the desert and the mountain of the Region. Many of them were forced to make a drastic choice. They knowingly split up their families to give some of the members a chance. Half of them sought their fortunes in Sudan and the other half mobilized to the West. In the camps there are no health facilities, no schools and, of course, no jobs. Despite the truce, mobilizations of fighters in Amhara and the mountain ranges along Eritrea's borders continue.