A brigadier general has been blocked from taking up a posting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, an official said on Friday, escalating a dispute between the region and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government that analysts warn could turn violent.
The military officer flew on Thursday from the capital Addis Ababa to Tigray for his new assignment but returned after being informed “his appointment would not be considered legitimate”, said Getachew Reda, a senior official with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the regional governing party.
“Any appointment or troop movement” is “totally unacceptable” at the moment because the TPLF believes Abiy no longer has a mandate for such moves, Getachew told AFP news agency.
A defence ministry spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The TPLF dominated Ethiopian politics for nearly 30 years before Abiy came to power in 2018 on the strength of anti-government protests.
Under Abiy, Tigrayan leaders have complained of being unfairly targeted in corruption prosecutions, removed from top positions and broadly scapegoated for the country’s woes.