NEW HOTSPOT OPENS UP IN NORTH AFRICA DESPITE U.N. BID TO DEFUSE TENSIONS

War is breaking out all over.

Fighting shows no signs of ending in Ethiopia as the prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, attempts to put down a rebellion by the sovereign-seeking state of Tigray. Eritrea now appears to have been drawn into the fighting. A massacre was reported by Amnesty International.

In the Amhara region, political unrest and communal violence continue to seethe following “abusive arrests” of alleged Oromo Liberation Front members, Human Rights Watch reports.

To the northwest of Ethiopia, a 29 year-long ceasefire between armies of the Western Sahara’s Polisario Front, a liberation movement seeking independence, and Morocco, is threatened and fighting is already underway, according to statements by officials, reported in the Sahara Press Service.

Polisario Front leader Brahim Ghali was quoted to say that his group would no longer abide by the commitment of the decades-long truce in the area after fighting broke out in several areas between the Moroccan military and the Polisario Front. The Moroccan military allegedly broke into a no-go buffer zone in southern Western Sahara, possibly encouraged by the U.S. whose emissary visited that country shortly before the operations began, it was reported on the news show DemocracyNow.

In recent days, the UN has been involved in multiple initiatives to avoid an escalation of the situation in Western Sahara’s Buffer Strip in the Guerguerat area, the spokesperson for the Secretary-General said in a statement issued on Friday.

According to Stéphane Dujarric, UN chief António Guterres has warned against violations of the ceasefire that was agreed upon in 1991 and the serious consequences of any changes to the status quo.

“The Secretary-General regrets that these efforts have proved unsuccessful and expresses grave concern regarding the possible consequences of the latest developments”, the statement said.

For the past three weeks, Sahrawi civilian protesters had blocked a Morocco-built road in the area that Sahrawis consider to be illegal. The peaceful blockade backed up traffic for miles and cut off trade between Morocco and Mauritania to the south.

The Polisario Front says it is now mobilizing thousands of volunteers to join for the fight for independence. “We have not seen fighting like this in Western Sahara since 1991,” said Jacob Mundy, associate professor of peace and conflict studies and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at Colgate University, speaking today on DemocracyNow. “We’ve seen tensions on the rise, but to have open warfare like this is very significant.”