Ethiopia: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is on the front lines to fight the rebels

He announced on Monday his intention to go in person to the war front that has settled in Ethiopia. According to state media Fana Broadcasting Corporate, on Wednesday November 24, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed “Rule the battlefield since yesterday” and “Now leads the counter-offensive” against the fighters from the Tigray region, leaving Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen to manage the ” Current affairs “ in Addis Ababa.

Fana not having broadcast images of Mr. Abiy on the ground, it was not possible to know exactly where this former army radio operator became lieutenant-colonel, and 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, is located.

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The Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres launched a “Urgent call” has a “Immediate and unconditional ceasefire in order to save” the country, after more than a year of conflict marked by the specter of famine. “There is no military solution to the conflict in Ethiopia”, hammered, Wednesday evening, a spokesperson for the US State Department, urging the parties “To refrain from any inflammatory and bellicose rhetoric” and “To show restraint”.

Returning from a new mission in Addis Ababa, the US envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, reported on Tuesday “Nascent progress” with a view to a diplomatic settlement of the conflict. But he warned that ” climbing “ military risk making them useless.

Recruits for the “survival campaign”

Hundreds of new Ethiopian army recruits attended a ceremony in Addis Ababa on November 24, 2021.

The war started in Tigray in November 2020 when Mr. Abiy sent the federal army there to remove the authorities, from the Tigray Liberation Front (TPLF), who challenged his authority and whom he accused of attacking military bases. Mr. Abiy proclaimed victory three weeks later, after the capture of the regional capital Mekele. But in June, the TPLF retook most of Tigray and continued its offensive in the neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar. This week, the TPLF claimed to control Shewa Robit, 220 km northeast of Addis Ababa.

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On Wednesday, hundreds of new army recruits, prompted by Mr. Abiy to “Join the survival campaign” according to Fana, participated in a ceremony in Addis Ababa. “I was amazed when I heard” that the prime minister wanted to join the soldiers on the ground, told Agence France-Presse (AFP), Tesfaye Sherefa, a 42-year-old driver who was among the conscripts. “When a leader leaves (…) his throne it is to save his country. His goal is not to live but to save his country, and I cried when he said follow me and went to the front line. “

Among those who have pledged to fight is marathon runner and Olympic medalist Feyisa Lilesa, who said the rebel advance represented a “Great opportunity” to defend the country. “When a country is desecrated, it’s impossible for me not to move and just watch”, he told another official media outlet, Ethiopian BC.

At the Rio Games in 2016, Mr. Feyisa made headlines by crossing the finish line of the marathon with his arms raised and crossed – a gesture of solidarity with his Oromo people, including protests against the power, then long since in the hands of the TPLF, were under heavy repression.

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Large-scale population displacements

The government continues to claim that the progress of the TPLF is exaggerated, denouncing sensationalist media coverage and security recommendations from embassies deemed alarmist.

The UN expressed concern on Wednesday after reports of large-scale population displacements in western Tigray, where Washington has already warned of ethnic cleansing. These movements would be made from an area bordering Sudan and Eritrea, said the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees. Zonal authorities in Tigray reported 8,000 new arrivals, possibly as high as 20,000, but these figures could not be confirmed immediately.

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London on Wednesday called on its nationals to leave ” at once “ Ethiopia, reporting a ” deterioration “ quick of the situation. France, Italy, Germany, Ireland and the United States have made similar appeals. Washington, London and the European Union have also withdrawn their non-essential personnel while the UN will evacuate the families of its international employees by Thursday.

The World with AFP

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Ethiopia: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is on the front lines to fight the rebels