The Ethiopian government on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in Tigray region, whose authorities have been defiant of federal powers in recent years with the latest being an “attempt to loot” a military base in the regional capital Mekele.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military response to the overnight attack by the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a party that was once in power across Ethiopia. It led a four party coalition called the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front that ruled the East African country for 27 years with iron grip and rampant corruption.

The six-month state of emergency is effective immediately. The chief of staff of the Ethiopian defense forces will oversee the implementation of the decree, a statement by the prime minister’s office said.

The Tigray state government and the TPLF have not only distanced themselves from federal-level activities, but have been breaching federal authority. In September, Tigray conducted polls, despite the parliament having postponed national and regional elections due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the premier's office, the TPLF ordered soldiers to storm a northern command base to steal artillery and other equipment.