Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country, recently declared a six-month “state of emergency” due to escalating violent clashes between the national army and local fighters from the northern region of Amhara.

This unrest comes merely nine months after the conclusion of a devastating two-year war in the neighboring region of Tigray, which also involved fighters from Amhara. The situation has become so dire that the Ethiopian federal government found it necessary to invoke a state of emergency as an attempt to control the escalating violence, which poses significant implications for global peace and also concerns the United States. This article examines the recent events in Ethiopia and analyzes why they matter to the international community, including the United States.

The Unfolding Crisis in Ethiopia

The conflict in Amhara has been escalating in recent weeks, leading several foreign governments to issue travel warnings and even ground flights to the region. Tension has been building since April when the Ethiopian federal government announced plans to disband regional forces, including those in Amhara. This move raised concerns among Amhara nationalists, who feared that it would weaken their region’s autonomy and power.

Local authorities in Amhara eventually sought assistance from the federal government to manage the deteriorating security situation, which was causing social and economic disruptions. Ultimately, the Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency in response to the escalating violence. The state of emergency in Amhara is initially set to last six months but can potentially be extended nationwide in response to any security-threatening situation.

The decree under the state of emergency includes a ban on street rallies and gatherings and grants authorities the power to impose curfews and detain suspects without a warrant.