Is the violence linked to the conflict in Tigray?

No, but the region’s now-ousted ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), saw Mr Abiy as a threat to the “ethnic federalism” that it had helped introduce in Ethiopia after it took power at the end of a guerrilla war in 1991.

It had created the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of four ethnically-based parties, to rule at the centre.

Mr Abiy scrapped the coalition last year, replacing it with his new Prosperity Party (PP).

He supporters see the PP as helping to forge unity by bringing together ethnically-based parties from across Ethiopia.

But unlike the three other parties in the coalition, the TPLF refused to dissolve and merge with the PP.

This led to a permanent rupture in relations between the two sides, and the TPLF was not represented in the federal government for the first time since 1991.

The party retreated to its regional stronghold of Tigray, and held regional elections in September in defiance of a decision at federal level to postpone all elections because of the outbreak of coronavirus.

This marked a significant escalation in tensions, which eventually led to the outbreak of conflict in Tigray last month.

Hundreds, or even thousands, of people are thought to have been killed in that conflict, while about 50,000 have fled to neighbouring Sudan.

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