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Ex-Soldier, Nobel Laureate Ethiopia PM On Frontline, Rebels Near Capital

Addis Ababa:

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was on the entrance line Wednesday the place authorities forces are battling rebels from the northernmost Tigray area, state-affiliated media mentioned.

International alarm has mounted over the escalating year-long battle, prompting international governments to inform their residents to go away amid fears the Tigrayan rebels may march on the capital Addis Ababa.

Abiy, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, “is now leading the counter-offensive” and “has been giving leadership from the battlefield as of yesterday,” Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported.

It was not clear the place precisely Abiy, a former radio operator within the navy who rose to lieutenant-colonel, had deployed, and state media didn’t broadcast photos of him within the area.

Officials haven’t responded to requests for particulars about his mission and whereabouts.

The preventing within the north of Africa’s second most populous nation has killed hundreds of individuals and compelled lots of of hundreds into famine-like circumstances.

On Wednesday, UN chief Antonio Guterres referred to as for a swift finish to the preventing whereas on a go to to Colombia to mark the fifth anniversary of a peace deal between the federal government and former FARC rebels.

“The peace process in Colombia inspires me to make an urgent appeal today to the protagonists of the conflict in Ethiopia for an unconditional and immediate ceasefire to save the country,” he mentioned.

Foreign envoys have additionally been frantically pushing for a ceasefire, although there have been few indicators a breakthrough is coming.

Jeffrey Feltman, Washington’s particular envoy for the Horn of Africa, mentioned Tuesday that “nascent progress” risked being “outpaced by the military escalation by the two sides”.

The warfare erupted in November 2020 when Abiy despatched troops into Tigray to topple its ruling social gathering, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

He mentioned the transfer was in response to TPLF assaults on federal military camps and promised a swift victory, however by late June the rebels had retaken most of Tigray together with its capital Mekele.

Since then the TPLF has pushed into neighbouring Amhara and Afar areas, and this week it claimed to have seized a city simply 220 kilometres (135 miles) from Addis Ababa.

New recruits

Abiy’s announcement Monday that he would deploy to the entrance “has inspired many to… join the survival campaign”, Fana mentioned Wednesday.

Hundreds of latest recruits took half in a ceremony held Wednesday of their honour within the capital’s Kolfe district.

As officers corralled sheep and oxen into vehicles certain for the north, the recruits broke into patriotic songs and chants.

“When a leader leaves his chair… and his throne it is to rescue his country,” Tesfaye Sherefa, a 42-year-old driver, instructed AFP.

Among these saying they might battle is Feyisa Lilesa, a distance runner and Olympic silver medallist, who instructed state media the rebels’ advance offered “a great opportunity” to defend the nation.

The marathon runner gained political prominence by elevating and crossing his arms as he completed the marathon on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro — a gesture of solidarity with fellow ethnic Oromos killed whereas protesting abuses dedicated throughout practically three a long time of TPLF rule.


Even because it rallies residents to battle, Abiy’s authorities insists the TPLF’s positive aspects have been overstated, criticising what it describes as sensationalist media protection and alarmist safety advisories from Western embassies.

The warfare has triggered a humanitarian disaster, with accounts of massacres and mass rapes, and on Wednesday the United Nations expressed fear over studies of large-scale displacement from western Tigray, the place the US has beforehand warned of ethnic cleaning.

“Tigray zonal authorities report of 8,000 new arrivals, potentially up to 20,000,” the UN refugee company UNHCR mentioned, including that it couldn’t instantly corroborate the figures.

Several witnesses have instructed AFP of mass roundups of Tigrayan civilians in western Tigray in current days.

Amhara forces occupied the fiercely contested space a yr in the past, with Amhara officers accusing the TPLF of illegally annexing it three a long time earlier.

As Amhara civilians have poured in over the previous yr, Tigrayans have fled within the tens of hundreds — both west into Sudan or east, deeper into Tigray.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is printed from a syndicated feed.)

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