Ethiopia: TPLF Terrorism Expands, Civilians Massacred – OpEd


As the armed conflict between Ethiopia and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) enters a new phase, Ethiopians are uniting against their common enemy. The TPLF is not a group of freedom fighters standing up for the downtrodden; they are a terrorist insurgent force waging a war against a sovereign state. Murdering, raping, destroying property and the lives of Ethiopians, the TPLF is a cancer that for decades has thrown a suffocating shadow of fear and division over the country, a cancer that must be cut out totally if Ethiopia is to flourish.

For 27 years they were the dominant force within a so-called coalition government. Corrupt and brutal, the TPLF stole election after election, trampled on human rights, embezzled federal funds and aid money and committed State Terrorism in various regions of the country. Administering a policy of Ethnic Federalism, they ruled through fear, divided the people along ethnic lines and are widely hated by most Ethiopians.

In 2018, after sustained public protests, they were ousted. However, after such a long period in power their divisive methodology and ideals still have influence. Senior members retreated to their Tigray heartland after losing office, regrouped, plotted, and waited for an opportunity to rise up against the government.

On 4 November 2020 they attacked the Ethiopian National Defense Forces Base in the northern region of Tigray. They killed soldiers, took control of the military’s Northern Command in Mekelle (capital of Tigray) and raided federal armories. This act of terrorism, set in motion an armed conflict in the northern region of Tigray; a fight the TPLF had been itching for, which has now spread into the neighboring region of Ahmara.

Thousands have died, combatants and civilians; claims of rape and sexual violence are widespread; tens of thousands have been displaced, homeless and hungry, with large numbers, frightened and distressed, making their way to camps in neighboring Sudan.

The TPLF’s brutal actions should be condemned unreservedly by foreign governments, particularly Ethiopia’s major donors. But, far from standing with the government, the US, UK and EU have consistently supported the terrorists, circulating misinformation, making false claims against Ethiopian forces.

Civilians Massacred

In an attempt to stop the killing and defuse the situation, on 28 June, the Government declared a “unilateral humanitarian ceasefire” and withdrew its forces from Tigray. In response, the TPLF marched into the regional capital and issued a series of outlandish conditions for complying: They demanded the release of all Tigray political prisoners (imprisoned for atrocities committed over many years), falsely accused Prime Minister Abiy of starting the war, and claimed that Tigrayans “have been subjected to…genocide and ethnic cleansing”. Federal forces are fighting the TPLF not the people of Tigray. But, as a result of the TPLF instigated conflict, civilians in Tigray have been severely impacted.

Unrelenting, obdurate, Tigray forces, which have now combined with another extremist group, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), have ignored the ceasefire and continued their attack on Ethiopia, moving into the Afar and Amhara regions bordering Tigray. Death, destruction and chaos is left in their wake with distressing reports of civilian killings, rapes, kidnapping and robbery. Homes are destroyed, office buildings, including Kabele (local government) headquarters vandalized, documents burnt, water and electricity supplies cut, Churches and schools damaged or demolished, cattle killed, crops destroyed.

Over 200 civilians were killed in Afar including more than 100 children, according to UNICEF, and around 300,000 were displaced. Federal forces have now driven the aggressors out of this region. In Deber Tabor in Ahmara, the main hospital was attacked and homes destroyed. A local resident, Mr. Deres Nega told Ethiopian media how his wife, children and friends had been killed by the TPLF. His life has been torn apart. His agony is being repeated throughout the area, his pain is the pain of a nation, a pain that has but one cure, the eradication of the TPLF.

Over 200 km north of Deber Tabor, in Chena Teklehaymanot, mass graves were recently discovered containing 124 bodies, many more people (over 100) are missing feared dead. Witnesses state that the TPLF went house to house and slaughtered men, women, children, even priests (revered throughout Ethiopia) were killed. The massacre, which has been confirmed by Gizachew Muluneh, Director of Communications for the Amhara Regional State, is but one atrocity in a series of coordinated assaults by the TPLF since the government ceasefire. Getachew Shiferaw, a leading Ethiopian activist, relates that, “Civilians were massacred [by the TPLF] in Woldia, Kobo, Alamata, Lalibela, Abergele, Maytemri, Gaint, Gashena and Mersa, among others towns.” He warns that, “Chena is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed’s press secretary, has said that TPLF atrocities in Ahmara “were carried out to avenge the military loss the clique suffered by federal and state troops,” as its fighters were routed from Afar. The government believes the Chena massacre was carried out by “the TPLF’s Samri youth group”, who are also thought to be responsible for killing over 1,000 civilians in “the town of Maikadra…last November.” After which they escaped to Sudan and hid in a UNHCR refugee camp.

Such brutal attacks, which are consistently ignored by western governments (who know very well what is actually happening) and prominent mainstream media, are forcing the Ethiopian government, until now relatively restrained, to respond and mobilize its forces. Ethiopia’s foreign ministry recently said the TPLF was pushing the government to “change its defensive mood which has been taken for the sake of the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire,” and that unless (government) overtures for a peaceful resolution were reciprocated, “Ethiopia could deploy the entire defensive capability of the state.”

The government, which has been weak on law and order enforcement, cannot simply sit back and allow the TPLF to murder civilians. They must respond swiftly and decisively, including, if necessary, deploying the air force, something they are reluctant to do because of potential civilian casualties.

Malicious foreign forces

Since the conflict began the Ethiopian government has been battling, not just the terrorists, but malicious foreign forces and misleading information from western governments and mainstream media – the BBC, CNN, New York Times, Facebook etc. The US, which is widely believed to be indirectly arming the TPLF, have led the misinformation campaign, and appear (together with the UK and EU) to have sanctioned the TPLF’s attack on Ethiopia.

To its utter shame the Biden administration (and UK and EU) has failed to condemn the TPLF attacks, and has undermined the Ethiopian government from the outset. They repeatedly call for reconciliation (thereby legitimizing the terrorists), and instruct PM Ahmed to negotiate with the TPLF, which is not only unacceptable to the government, but to the vast majority of Ethiopians, who liken the TPLF to a pack of hyenas, pointing out the impossibility of negotiating with wild animals.

In response to their international backers’ call for ‘negotiations’ the TPLF drafted a list of preposterous demands for any such talks. Among other fantasies, they wanted PM Ahmed to step down and be replaced with one of their own, and a power-sharing arrangement introduced. This would amount to the overthrow (with US backing) of a democratically elected government: The Prosperity Party (a party of national unity founded by Abiy) has a huge mandate, taking 410 out of 436 seats in the June 2020 general election. The formation of a new government, which will include opposition parties, is expected by the end of September/early October, and is eagerly awaited.

As these malicious foreign forces seek to destabilize Ethiopia for their own corrupt geo-political reasons, and the TPLF commit atrocity after atrocity, the Ethiopian people are laying aside long held divisions (largely caused by TPLF policies) and coming together, standing shoulder to shoulder with their brothers and sisters against the poison of the terrorists and the Imperial arrogance of America and Co.

While this is unquestionably a deeply troubling moment for Ethiopia, at the same time there is cause for celebration and real optimism: The staging of the first democratic elections in the country’s long and rich history was a major achievement, as was the second filling of The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (the largest dam in Africa) reservoir. Along with the imminent formation of a new and democratically elected government, these are unifying national events. Significant developments which the Ethiopian people can take great pride in as they unite against the TPLF/OLA terrorists, destructive groups that must be purged from the country completely and utterly if peace and social harmony are to be established, and the  needed work of national transformation is to go ahead.

Graham Peebles

Graham Peebles is an independent writer and charity worker. He set up The Create Trust in 2005 and has run education projects in India, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia where he lived for two years working with acutely disadvantaged children and conducting teacher training programmes. Website:

11 thoughts on “Ethiopia: TPLF Terrorism Expands, Civilians Massacred – OpEd

  • September 18, 2021 at 6:50 am

    What a refreshing truth based report ! Mr. Peebles, thank you for recognizing the aggressor in the this conflict, the terrorist group TPLF!

    The west has been blindsided and swindled. A criminal group may tarnish the image of Ethiopia but will never win against 110 million people .

    • September 18, 2021 at 11:51 pm

      On the mark! When President Biden decides to negotiate with the January 6 insurrectionists, he may have some credibility to suggest to Prime Minister Abiy to consider doing the same with the TPLF insurrectionists. When America starts negotiating with ISIS, with Al Queda, with Al-Shabab, it may ask Ethiopia to follow its example and talk to TPLF terrorists. Walk the talk Mr President.

  • September 18, 2021 at 8:28 am

    I think the truth is coming to the light for Ethiopia thanks to a very but very few people like you who stand for the truth rather than for some coins that come to their pockets from the trrriorist TPLF group for the mayority of western medias like CNN, NEWYORK TIMES, BBC and others.
    Ethiopia will prevail and truth will be shinning for over 100 million Ethiopians who have suffered the barbarie under the attack of TPLF.

  • September 18, 2021 at 9:36 am

    Thank you for taking the courage in bringing the truth to the light. You have clearly explained the atrocious act committed by TPLF and its demonic leadership style which – ethnic based politics.

    One can only know when problems knocks at his/her door; how some of the global news outlets twist the facts. Anyhow, time will reveal everything.

    “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

  • September 18, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    Incredible analysis. It is just a reflection well seasoned scholar. Thanks Bro

  • September 18, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    Thanks for telling the truth. The western media is brain washed by this terrorist. I dnk what gets to US, UK & EU head to glue themselves with These murderers. They have sucked the 110 ML Ethiopian people blood and sweat for 27 years because of the westerns and they them to continue to do that. That is is not acceptable by any Ethiopian.

  • September 18, 2021 at 6:30 pm

    The TPLF is a terrorist group of former local government officials who together with mutinying senior officers in the Ethiopian army ordered Ethiopians soldiers to attack fellow Ethiopian Soldiers, because they were not happy that they no longer had access to the privilege, power, authority and finances they once held. The main goal of the TPLF is to get their hands on the wealth of Ethiopia, not for the benefit of the Ethiopian people, but for their own selfish narcissistic gain as they try to convince themselves that they have some holy divine right to power over all Ethiopians because of an allegiance to an ethnic group

  • September 19, 2021 at 2:08 am

    Thank you for telling the truth. The information is so complete with a clear understanding of the context and history that led to the current crisis. Ethiopians are shocked by the stand taken by the US, UK and EU and th einternational media that their country, a peaceful nation, a member of League of Nations, founding member of UN and AU; the seat of AU; a country that sacrificed a lot to keep the peace internationally, including helping the US in the fight against Al Shabab is attacked left and right.

  • September 19, 2021 at 4:18 am

    I am American and I totally agree. I’ve been so frustrated with the way my government and media has handled this crisis. Thank you for your courage in writing the truth for the world to see. I read article after article about how the TPLF terrorist killing civilians and America still cast stones at the Ethiopian government. It is very upsetting to me because I feel so bad for Ethiopians who are victims of terrorism and see that the west blames them for trying to defend themselves. I wish my government and media would really open their eyes. I’ve spent time in Ethiopia and I love the people and culture. I admire Ethiopia so much. I really hope things get better soon. Just know there are Americans that love and support you Ethiopia!

  • September 19, 2021 at 10:36 pm

    It has always been stark clear that the tplf an organisation that conducted systemic torture, killing and maiming of whoever they suspected might oppose them. They looted the country thru their wide spread corruption and stashed the money in foreign banks. Foreign loans and financial assistance as well as humanitarian aids were routinely diverted to enrich the top leaders.
    The west knew it but refused to put any blames on these thugs.

  • October 1, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    Truth matters and you have shown that it does. Thank you. One aspect that you haven’t touched is the way the “superpower” America makes foreign policy decisions based on the personal relationships that some of its government officers such as Susan Rice and her close group have with tplf!


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