Ethiopian Nobel Peace Prize winner Abi Ahmed personally went to the front to fight the rebel forces, which claim to be just 225km from the capital, Addis Ababa.
The city of 5 million people is preparing for battle, civilian detachments trained by the authorities are patrolling the streets, local and regional media and world agencies report.
According to data provided to Reuters, 147,000 civilians have been trained by police – just under 3% of the capital’s population.
Earlier this week, Abiy posted an invitation on Facebook to Tigray’s People’s Liberation Front, saying, “Let’s meet at the front.”
However, TPLF spokesman Getachu Reda said the front forces would not hesitate to “put an end to Abi’s suffocating grip on our people.”
Due to the escalation of Ethiopia in recent weeks is in a state of emergency since November 2 for a period of six months. TPLF advances to the capital in recent weeks, and her cause for the overthrow of Abiy has been joined by other armed groups from other provinces in the country.
Both sides say they are close to victory. Abbey has tried in the last year to mobilize anti-Western sentiment to unite Ethiopians and to show countries like Russia and China as better partners. However, Addis Ababa continues the dialogue with Washington, although the Joe Biden administration allowed aid to be suspended due to the conflict.
In an attempt to mobilize the population, two Ethiopian athletics names – retired legend Haile Gebrselasie and Feis Liles – have announced they are ready to go to the front in person. Haile has two Olympic gold medals and 27 world running records behind him.
“What would you do if the existence of your country is in question? You just put everything else aside. Alas, there is nothing else to connect you, I’m sorry?”
Haile Gebrselasie to Reuters
Deputies, party leaders and leaders of Ethiopian provinces also stood behind Abiy and expressed readiness to join the war.
The United States is urging both sides to refrain from “militant rhetoric” because only a peaceful solution to the conflict is possible. The UN has called for an immediate end to the fighting.
The United States, meanwhile, has prepared special forces and three destroyers near Djibouti because of the deteriorating situation in Ethiopia, according to CNN. A spokesman for the US military command in the United States did not confirm, but said the military was ready to support a number of “emergencies” around the world. According to the television, it is a question of assistance in a possible evacuation in case of escalation in Addis Ababa, but it is excluded to be taken out as in Afghanistan in the summer.
The information war is escalating due to diplomatic tensions over the US position. There are protests in front of the American embassy in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia expelled four of six Irish diplomats for their role as Dublin in a Security Council statement in support of the ceasefire.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, known in English as the TPLF, wants to overthrow the government in Addis Ababa; it is both a political party and an armed force with its own resources. Experts fear a possible deepening ethnic conflict in Ethiopia at a time of tension in other provinces, and the risk of destabilizing and even splitting the 113 million-strong country. Part of the Tigers’ strategy is to cut off Ethiopia’s landlocked connection to Djibouti, the region’s main port.
Persian Gulf publications are also involved in the information clash, for which the region, a direct neighbor on the other side of the Red Sea, is important. Qatari television Al Jazeera claims that the United Arab Emirates has opened an air bridge to support the Ethiopian army, used more than 90 times with the help of European companies in less than a month, and supplied it with Chinese Wing Loong drones (seen at Ethiopian bases, namely The Emirates have them and have already used them in Libya). Today’s article actually talks about successful TPLF attacks on Ethiopian bases and its approach nearly 200 km from Addis Ababa.
The UAE has not yet commented. The edition Al Ain from this country reprinted earlier today information on the success of the Ethiopian army against the TPLF.
Why is such a conflict raging in Ethiopia?
Abbey came to power in 2018 with dizzying reforms that boosted democratization in repressive Ethiopia in a matter of months, and by signing a peace with Eritrea, brought him the Nobel Peace Prize. However, the loosening of grip on public and political life has unleashed tensions in a number of provinces, especially since he announced plans for a more centralized and homogeneous Ethiopia.
Tigray’s leaders, whose main ethnic group is 5% of the population and has dominated power for two and a half decades, felt most neglected in the new configuration. Tensions rose after Abbey postponed the federal election because of the coronavirus took place not last fall, but in June 2021), and Tigray refused to accept it. The army intervened in Tigray after reports of attacks on government warehouses in November last year. In recent weeks, the TPLF has re-emerged and, in addition to its native Tigray (on the border with Eritrea and Sudan), has taken over more territories to the south after heading to Addis Ababa.
The balance for a year of fighting is for thousands killed, millions fleeing their homes and – according to the UN – nearly 400,000 starving. The UN is talking about a “de facto government blockade” on humanitarian aid. Because of the humanitarian crisis there was an attempt at a truce in the summerbut he failed.
However, NGOs and experts believe that the available information indicates actions that could be tantamount to war crimes on both sides. In addition, while in many provinces there is strong resentment against Abi’s rule, Tigers have been linked to autocratic, repressive rule, tens of thousands of arrests, political persecution and assassinations at a time when the Ethiopian system was among the most closed in the world.
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The African Union and the United States have stepped up their diplomatic activity, but attempts at mediation have so far been unsuccessful. Jeffrey Feltman, the US special envoy for the Horn of Africa (where Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia are located), toured the region’s capitals in search of a solution, but warned on Tuesday that military escalation was preventing a compromise.
Germany, France, Britain and the United States have already called on their citizens to leave as soon as possible. The evacuation of UN personnel, including eligible family members, must be completed by today. London and Washington have already withdrawn all diplomats whose presence is not essential.