UMD Media has received credible information that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been holding consultations over the past few months with select individuals to decide on how to handle the situation in Tigray, including  waging a full-blown war. Most of these meetings took place in his palace and exclusively included former leaders of the Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organization (OPDO), now part of the Oromia Prosperity Party, such as Aba Dulla Gemeda, Girma Biru, Sufian Ahmed, Workneh Gebeyehu, former Oromo Liberation Front leader Lencho Bati, and Chief of Staff Berhanu Jula, according to sources.

Notably absent from these meetings were non-OPDO ministers with security portfolios, including Redwan Hussien, the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor and currently Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Service, and Abraham Belay, who has served as Minister of Defence and starting May 20, 2024, the Minister of Irrigation and Lowland Areas Development.

Workneh Gebeyehu, currently Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), previously served as Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs (November 2016 – March 2019), Minister of Transport and Communications (September 2012 – November 2016), and Commissioner-General of the Ethiopian Federal Police (2001–2012).

Aba Dulla Gemeda, considered the most influential politician within the OPDO, served as National Security Advisor to PM Abiy Ahmed (April 2018 – June 2018), Speaker of the House of Peoples’ Representatives (September 2010 – April 2018), President of the Oromia Region (October 2005 – September 2010), and Minister of Defence (October 2001 – September 2005).

Sufian Ahmed served as Ethiopia’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development for 20 years (1996–2015), making him the longest-serving finance minister in Sub-Saharan Africa. He then served as Chief Economic Advisor to the prime minister (2015–2017) and has been less visible in public since Abiy Ahmed came to power. His current profile includes roles as a member of the G20 Eminent Persons Group, the Advisory Board of the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program, and as a Non-Resident Fellow at the Centre for Global Development.

Lencho Bati is currently the Ethiopian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Girma Biru, who served as Minister of Industry and Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the USA during the EPDRF years , is now an advisor to the Prime Minister.

During these discussions, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the group identified what they called three primary risks if Tigray remains as it is without further weakening according to UMD Media sources: 1) Tigray’s current status could embolden Amhara Fano and other forces such as Oromo Liberation Army who are fighting against the federal government; 2) Fano and Eritrea might ally with Tigray to strengthen the challenge against the government; 3) Tigray might hold the government accountable for crimes committed during the 2020-2022 war.

The meeting considered various measures, ranging from targeting Tigray’s military and political leaders through isolated poisonings and assassinations to waging a full-scale war on Tigray.

For months, the government has been disseminating information through state media, particularly the Amhara Regional State media, claiming that arms and military communication radios captured from Tigray were originally destined for the Amhara Fano. The latest accusations involve the alleged occupation of Alamata, Raya in South Tigray, which has been under the Amhara Prosperity Party administration since the 2020 war. This situation has prompted calls for war on Tigray from the Amhara Prosperity Party administration and Abiy Ahmed’s allies from the opposition bloc, including the National Movement of Amhara led by Belete Molla, current Minister of Innovation of Ethiopia, and Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice led by Berhanu Nega, current Minister of Education of Ethiopia, who have made public statements advocating for action against Tigray.

The Oromo Liberation Army and Amhara Fano have been fighting against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government, citing excessive repression in the Oromia and Amhara regions, respectively. These conflicts that are taking civilian tools prompted the recent call by the US Ambassador to Ethiopia for a nationwide ceasefire in his policy speech from Addis Ababa.

Tigray leaders have accused the federal government of failing to adequately facilitate the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) before the June rainy season, which will mark their fourth year away from their homes in Western and Southern Tigray. Meanwhile, Eritrea continues to occupy a significant portion of Western, Northern, and Eastern Tigray, with over 67% of the area being undisputed territory according to the 2002 Ethiopian Boundary Commission delimitation line established by the 2000 Algiers Agreement.

UMD Media

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