Mulu Nega, who was appointed in November to fight in the northern region, was replaced by Abraham Belay, according to the federal government.
The Ethiopian federal government has replaced the head of the interim administration in Tigray, a region affected by more than six months of catastrophic conflict.
Mulu Nega had been in office since November, shortly after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced a military campaign against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling party in the northern region that had dominated national politics. for decades.
Mulu was replaced by Abraham Belay, who had been minister of innovation and technology in the federal government, Abiy’s office said Thursday in a Twitter post.
“The appointment is the result of a six-month paper review,” Abyy spokeswoman Billene Seyoum told AFP news agency. Abraham is a member of the Abyy Prosperity Party.
Abiy said on Nov. 4 that he was sending troops to Tigray after accusing the TPLF of orchestrating attacks on federal army camps. The TPLF, which was at the helm of Ethiopia’s ruling coalition for nearly 30 years until Abiy took office in 2018, denied responsibility and said the reported attack was a pretext for a ” invasion “by federal forces and allied troops in neighboring Eritrea.
After federal troops took the regional capital Mekelle in November, Mulu set about trying to establish a provisional government, even while fighting was flying elsewhere in the region.
Appointments granted by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on May 6, 2021
– Dr. Abraham Belay, chief executive of the Tigray Interim Administration
– Dr. Mulu Nega, Minister of State of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education #PMOEthiopia
– Office of the Prime Minister – Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) May 6, 2021
In an interview with AFP in February, he said he knew Mekelle residents had “mixed feelings” about his presence in the office previously occupied by his overthrown leaders.
“They want a government to take over government activities in the region,” he said. “On the other hand, as we are not elected, they also have some doubts. That’s natural. “
Mulu said he was happy with the job, but did not want to stay for long, and planned to leave after the election in Tigray. The region will not run in the national elections scheduled for June 5 and it is unclear when it will be voted on there.
Mulu had acknowledged the presence of Eritrean troops at Tigray weeks before Abiy finally arrived clean in this regard at the end of March.
“The TPLF attacked the federal government army in [Tigray] the region, which exposed its location and led Eritrean forces into it, ”he said he said At the Jazeera in late February. “It happened against our will.”
Abiy, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, declared victory for Tigray in late November, but TPLF leaders continue to flee and the fight is debated.
The conflict is believed to have killed thousands, if not more, and displaced more than a million, including some 60,000 who fled to neighboring Sudan.
Growing reports of mass killings, rapes and widespread famine have sparked international alarm and urgent pressure for the withdrawal of Eritrean troops, who have been implicated in some of the worst attacks on civilians documented to date, including brutal mass rapes. Eritrea denies involvement in atrocities.
During a visit to the Um Rakuba refugee camp in Sudan’s Gadarif state on Wednesday, US Senator Chris Coons told Al Jazeera that “there are still Eritrean troops throughout Tigray and elsewhere in Ethiopia. “.
“The conflict is not over and has not been resolved,” he said. “There must still be accountability for human rights violations, the ceasefire, the withdrawal of foreign troops, especially Eritrean troops, from Tigray and a path to the resolution of this conflict.”
Over the weekend, Abiy’s Cabinet passed a resolution classifying the TPLF as a “terrorist” group, giving a hard blow to the prospect of peace talks.