Ethiopian lawmakers on Thursday designated Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) as terrorist organisations.
The move comes after the Council of Ministers of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government on Saturday decided to designate TPLF and Shene as terrorist entities.
In a statement, the council accused the two groups of carrying out several terror level civilian-targeted attacks in different parts of the country during the past few years.
“The crimes that these entities have committed and perpetrated are acts of terrorism,” the council said, citing the anti-terrorist legislation enacted in 2020.
The groups are also “being exploited by foreign forces seeking to weaken, disrupt and dismantle Ethiopia”, it said as part of its reasons for labelling them as terrorist entities.
The council said the attacks that have been carried out by the two groups were politically motivated with the intention of disrupting and reversing a “reform/change strategy” the ruling Prosperity Party is taking to transform the country.
As a result of the attacks, the council said lives of many citizens have been taken, others have become disabled, government and private properties were damaged, and hundreds of thousands of civilians were displaced from their homes.
The statement further went into saying that “there were groups behind who were planning, financing, training and organising the attacks” carried out by the now terror designated groups.
TPLF, a former Tigray region governing party which recently turned into a guerrilla fighter, ruled the country for nearly three decades dominating the central government until Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed assumed power three years ago.
This is the first time for Ethiopia to designate groups as terrorist entities since PM Abiy came to power.
The designation comes about six-months since the central government waged war on the northern Tigray region.
Ethiopia will hold a national election next month which was previously postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.