Martin Plaut and Sarah Vaughan will present "Understanding Ethiopia's Tigray War”, which Hurst is publishing this week.

The conflict, which erupted on 4th November 2000 is the most vicious and possibly the least understood conflict of the last two years. It involved forces of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, supported by ethnic militia, who combined in an attempt to crush the Tigrayans. The fighting and accompanying blockade led to an estimated 600,000 deaths – more than the number who died in the 1984-5 famine. International journalists were banned as Tigray was sealed off from the outside world by Ethiopian and Eritrean governments prosecuting a strategy designed to crush it at almost any cost.

This book is the first to attempt to chronicle why the war took place, in the context of Ethiopia’s long and complex history. It provides details of the battles and the destruction to infrastructure and livelihoods across the region.

  • Martin Plaut, the BBC World Service's former Africa Editor, has published extensively on African affairs. An adviser to the Foreign Office and the US State Department, he is Senior Researcher at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.
  • Sarah Vaughan PhD has worked in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa since the late 1980s, and has taught African politics and social theory in Scotland and Ethiopia.

This session will be chaired by Dr Sue Onslow, Director- Institute of Commonwealth Studies.