While headlines worldwide spotlight the distress in Eastern Europe from the Russia-Ukraine clash, a new report reveals the conflict in North Ethiopia has extracted a much steeper cost in human life, largely escaping international media coverage.
The Ethiopian and Ukraine-Russia conflicts accounted for 89 percent of battle-related deaths worldwide in 2022, according to a new report from the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).
The institute’s annual conflict trends report found that last year was the deadliest in four decades, with 204,000 battle-related fatalities.
The two-year war in northern Ethiopia resulted in approximately 100,200 deaths before an African Union-brokered ceasefire was reached in November 2022. In comparison, the Ukraine-Russia war that began in February led to 81,500 deaths.
“While the war in Ukraine captured most attention, the parallel war between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front was more lethal,” the report states.
The Ethiopian conflict, already the third deadliest in 2021, drew in forces beyond the two warring parties.
The report counted an additional 22,300 deaths from other conflicts in 2022, accounting for 11 percent of the total.
About half of all casualties due to military conflict worldwide in 2022 happened in Ethiopia.
According to the report, battle-related deaths in Tigray have reached alarmingly high levels while the world’s attention has focused on Ukraine.
With the continued ceasefire in Ethiopia, the Institute predicts significantly fewer casualties in 2023. “The level of violence in Ethiopia appears to have reduced dramatically following the ceasefire two years after the outbreak of the civil war,” the report stated.
Six other countries were also embroiled in conflict in 2022, each surpassing 1,000 battle deaths: Somalia, Yemen, Burkina Faso, Mali, Myanmar and Nigeria.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who led peace efforts in northern Ethiopia, previously estimated total casualties resulting from the north Ethiopian war could reach as high as 600,000.