Ethiopia announced on Wednesday that it had replaced the head of the interim government in the northern region of Tigray, which has been the scene of conflict since November, after reviewing his performance.
Mulu Nega was appointed by the federal government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in November, around ten days after the federal army was sent to the region to arrest and disarm local leaders from the People's Liberation Front of Tigray (TPLF).
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Abiy Ahmed, prime minister since 2018, accused the TPLF, which for nearly 30 years held the levers of power in Addis Ababa, of challenging his authority and regional forces of attacking federal army bases in Tigray. Mulu Nega is replaced by Abraham Belay, Minister of Innovation and Technology in the federal government, said Billene Seyoum, spokesperson for Mr. Abiy.
"This appointment is the consequence of a performance review of this function after six months,"
she told AFP.
Abraham Belay belongs to the Prosperity Party, founded in 2019 by Abiy Ahmed and in which he merged the coalition of regional parties until then in power in Ethiopia. Neither Mulu Nega nor Abraham Belay responded to AFP's requests on Wednesday evening. Abiy Ahmed proclaimed victory at the end of November after the capture of Mekele, capital of Tigray, by the federal army. But the leaders of the TPLF are still at large, refuse to lay down their arms and fighting is still reported in Tigray.
In an interview with AFP in February, he admitted that residents of Mekele had
about the interim government. They want a government to take over the activities of the region, he explained.
“On the other hand, as we are not elected, they also have doubts. It's natural".
Due to the ongoing conflict, the legislative and regional elections scheduled for June 5 in Ethiopia have been postponed indefinitely in Tigray. Over the weekend, the Council of Ministers classified the TPLF as a terrorist organization, lowering hopes for peace negotiations that many states are calling for.