Image copyright THOMAS JONES Image caption Steve Blinken is the son of a former prime minister of Ethiopia
Former British MP Sir Nicholas Frostbloke has warned the region to prepare for an “endless cycle of conflict”.
Speaking ahead of the visit of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Sir Nicholas said Tigrayans were capable of chaos and had murdered and tortured civilians.
Families of dissenters have been threatened for aiding opposition candidates in the 2011 polls.
Thousands were killed and another 50,000 detained during decades of rule by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
But protests in the country, which borders Eritrea and Somalia, began in late 2015.
Ethiopia is on the path to destruction, Sir Nicholas said
“It has since been the most amazing gathering of people,” he told the BBC’s World Tonight programme.
“They are actually conducting acts of resistance that I think I haven’t seen at any other time in my life.”
Image copyright SONGS JERILIM
Sir Nicholas said Abiy was a “daring” politician who was changing the regime from within.
“That represents the West as well, that they can be this daring figure who can change the dictatorship in the country from within.”
The elder politician, who previously served as foreign secretary, said the TPLF’s faction in the ruling EPRDF had met on two occasions to protest against the prime minister’s appointment.
“They’re now being hounded, and we see the consequences of that as people are dying and they can’t go back to their families.”
I said it a few months ago but I won’t stop now – for me, the best relations will be with [the West] in spite of the Chinese
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
He added the TPLF faction were arming and funding militias in other parts of the country.
“It’s on the path to destruction. There are too many people there that are being frightened out of their minds and believe they’re going to die if they go back to their homes.
“I said it a few months ago but I won’t stop now – for me, the best relations will be with [the West] in spite of the Chinese.”
The 56-year-old premier has announced economic reforms. In November, he announced talks with Eritrea for peace.
He has also relaxed the harsh restrictions placed on journalists and online activists.