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The war between the Ethiopian government and the secessionist Tigrayan rebels continues, and the African Union (AU) is once again caught sleeping on the job with a deafening silence on suggesting the way forward for the burning country. We are forced to repeat asking the same question as before, where is the African Union Continental Brigade?

This is an army unit that we are told was created by the AU to intervene in crisis situations happening anywhere across the continent. The underlying factor here is that Africa cannot continue to outsource its security from outside sources. Africa should take the initiative to give an African solution to all its problems wherever they manifest themselves.

Why does the leadership of the AU always fail to provide leadership on the continent? Should we always wait for the western countries to call the shots? To date, the AU has just issued a mild call for a ceasefire without actually demanding it.

In the meantime, the slaughter of innocent civilians continues unabated without hope of any cessation. The movement of millions of internally displaced people (IDP) and others flowing into the Sudan seeking refuge is currently at its pick.

The United Nations says it has released emergency funds to help provide life-saving humanitarian assistance and protection to civilians caught up in Ethiopia’s spiralling conflict. UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Monday that he had released a total of $40m aimed at scaling up emergency operations in the Tigray region and the rest of Ethiopia’s conflict-hit north, and as an early response to drought in the south of the country.

The release of funds comes amid growing international efforts to halt the escalating conflict. On Sunday, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta met Abiy in Ethiopia as African Union (AU) envoy Olusegun Obasanjo said he hoped dialogue can end the conflict but warned “such talks cannot deliver” without an immediate ceasefire.

In a statement, Obasanjo said he was “optimistic that common ground towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict can be secured”.

But with fighting intensifying in recent weeks, the former Nigerian president and AU special envoy for the Horn of Africa warned that “such talks cannot deliver in an environment of escalated military hostilities”.

“I, therefore, appeal to the leadership of all sides to halt their military offensives. This will allow an opportunity for dialogue to continue to progress.”

His comments came ahead of a visit to three African nations by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has backed Obasanjo’s efforts at mediation and threatened to impose sanctions on Abiy’s government and the TPLF unless they move forward on talks.

As an intra-African body, the AU should not allow foreign countries to intervene and dictate what should be going on in Africa. Instead, it should rise to the occasion and take charge of its own affairs.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray last November to topple the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a move he said came in response to rebel attacks on army camps.

Abiy promised a swift victory, but by late June, the TPLF had retaken most of Tigray before expanding its presence into the Amhara and Afar regions.

The TPLF is demanding an end to what the UN has described as a de facto humanitarian blockade on Tigray, with no aid permitted to enter the region in the past month.

We look forward to a ceasefire and peaceful resumption of UN and AU initiated peace talks to resolve the current crisis going on in Ethiopia without delay, or else the human cost will be too much to bear.


Dr. Mustafa Mheta

Senior researcher/Head of Africa Desk

Media Review Network

South Africa