Skip to content
Bobby Ghosh

The World’s Deadliest War Isn’t in Ukraine, But in Ethiopia

Outsiders’ attempts to mediate the conflict have failed so far, but there is more the Biden administration could do to bring a halt to the atrocities. 

Far from Ukraine, another war exacts a brutal toll.

Far from Ukraine, another war exacts a brutal toll.

Photographer: Solan Kolli/AFP/Getty Images

Coming from a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Abiy Ahmed’s call for restraint and diplomacy to end the war in Ukraine might have attracted more attention if the Ethiopian prime minister hadn’t stained his laurels with the blood of his own people. Reports of hideous war crimes committed by his forces and those of his Eritrean allies against civilians in the rebel northern province of Tigray make a mockery of his appeals for nonviolence in other parts of the world.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has diverted international attention from conflicts elsewhere, including those in Yemen, Mozambique and Africa’s Sahel, the region just south of the Sahara. In Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous nation, a bloody civil war is now in its 16th month. The fighting between Abiy’s forces and the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front seems at a standstill, but human-rights groups and multilateral organizations have condemned atrocities on both sides.