When Verum’s crystal ball began spinning and humming, the Mysticals gathered around for today’s news. Verum looked up and told her friends, “Today’s news is from the East African nation of Ethiopia. In Ethiopia’s Tigray region, war has been going on since November 2020. The rebels from Tigray have taken over Lalibela, a town in the neighboring Amhara region.”

“Is there something significant about this town?” said Orak.

“Yes, there are 11 churches in Lalibela that were carved out of a single rock. These churches date back to the 12th and 13th centuries! This makes them about 800 to 900 years old. The churches are still a holy site for millions,” said Verum, “And that’s why the churches were declared a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site in 1978.”

“Verum, who are these Tigrayan rebels? And why are they fighting?” said Scorch.

“Let’s start at the beginning,” said Verum, “Tigray is the northernmost state in Ethiopia. The Tigrayans’ party called the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fought a war against a military government in the 1970s and 1980s.”

She continued, “After emerging successfully in this war, the TPLF became a member of the coalition government (the joining together of different parties to form a government). The TPLF then helped to set up a federal system.”

Felix asked, “What is a federal system?”

“A federal system is when the same territory is governed by two levels of government,” replied Verum, “In Ethiopia’s federal system, different ethnic groups control 10 different regions. While there is a central government at the helm of affairs, this system supposedly allows the regions to govern themselves freely as well.”

“What changed? Why did war break out?” said Orak.

“Abiy Ahmed became the Prime Minister in 2018. He brought about sweeping changes in the country and dissolved the coalition of which the TPLF was a part,” explained Verum, “The Tigrayans weren’t happy with this. So, they held their elections in September 2020.”

She added, “The Ethiopian government called the elections illegal. The situation escalated and war broke out on 4th November 2020. It has caused a lot of damage. Now, it has also spilled over into the neighboring regions of  Amhara and Afar.”

“That is worrisome,” said Orak, “Do keep us updated, Verum.”