How Tigray’s ‘Great War of Africa’ is raging under cover of a media blackout

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But there has been virtually no reporting of the conflict after the Ethiopian government cut phone and internet lines in the area and almost completely shut down media access to hide the extent of the fighting. Most communications with the outside world now have to be via satellite phones.

“This is Africa’s new Great War,” said Cameron Hudson, an analyst and former head of African affairs at the United States National Security Council.

“After the events in the Congo 25 years ago, where up to six African countries committed troops to a fight that ultimately killed more than five million people, Ethiopia is fast becoming Africa’s next world war .”

“Three hours of killing”

An Ethiopian soldier who fought there last month on the western front described it as a “bloodbath”.

“We repelled one of their attacks. It was three hours of killing. My team kept targeting their dishka gunners,” he said, referring to a Soviet-era DShK heavy machine gun. “Later, [after an artillery strike], they were a mix of splattered limbs and brains. You don’t celebrate; you just feel relieved because it could have been you. War is like that.

The latest mass offensive is part of a gruesome civil war that erupted in the north of Africa’s second most populous country in late 2020 when Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed attacked a local government dissident in the Tigray region.

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