A senior official in the region’s interim administration said Ethiopian tiger in conflict He told AFP on Saturday that he had fled the country to seek asylum, fearing for his safety.
Gebremiskel Kasa was the chief administrator of the administration appointed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed after sending troops to Tigray last November to topple the region’s ruling party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray.
Abi Ahmed justified the military operation as a response to attacks on federal army camps carried out by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray, which ruled Ethiopia for three decades until 2018.
During his stay in Tigray, Gebremiskel openly criticized him Eritrean forces fight alongside Ethiopian soldiers in the region and calls for their withdrawal.
He also accused forces in the neighboring Amhara region of violently expelling thousands of Tigrayans from the western part of the region, where Washington says “acts of ethnic cleansing” were committed.
Gebremiskel fled Tigray in late June after forces loyal to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray regained control of most of the region, including the capital, Mekele.
In an asylum claim consulted by AFP, he said he was later summoned to meetings with senior federal officials who accused the interim government of being responsible for the military setback.
The request stated that “the accusation was unfair and unfounded because we were the head of a civilian administration.”
Gebremiskel asked the Agence France Presse agency not to reveal the country in which he requested asylum for security reasons.
He sought asylum more than a week after Addis Ababa security forces arrested another senior interim administration official, Abraha Desta, who recently called for negotiations to end the conflict.
Gebremiskel told AFP that federal officials have long rejected calls by the interim administration in December to continue negotiations after the expulsion of TPLF forces from towns and villages in the province.
He added: “They refused it. They said – The Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray has been completely destroyed – and they said – Who are we going to negotiate with?”
Gebremeskel’s comments came as Ethiopian forces launched a new air and ground offensive against Tigray rebels in Amhara in an operation the Front described as “widespread”.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Tigray face conditions bordering on famine, according to the United Nations, and Gebremeskel urged the international community to intervene to prevent further suffering.
“If this force (the Ethiopian army) manages to penetrate into Tigray, it will be a disaster, and it will be unfortunate for the international community,” he said.