State of emergency in Ethiopia as citizens asked to defend the capital
Government and Tigray soldiers have been fighting for the last year, and most of northern Ethiopia is blocked off from the rest of the world.
Ethiopia announced a state of emergency on Tuesday after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) claimed control of the Amhara region cities of Dessie and Kombolcha.
The towns are around 400 kilometres (250 miles) south of Addis Ababa, and TPLF forces have suggested that they may march south.
For the last year, government and Tigray troops have been battling, and most of northern Ethiopia is cut off from the outside world. The TPLF has been able to capture key towns in recent days.
UN urges for halt of hostilities
António Guterres, the UN’s General-Secretary, has urged for an urgent halt to hostilities.
The UN officials also discussed the visit by Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, to Ethiopia to ensure humanitarian assistance for those who desperately need life-saving aid.
US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman, as per Reuters, will visit Ethiopia on Thursday for discussions, two days after US President Joe Biden said that Ethiopia will lose duty-free access to the US due to alleged human rights violations in Tigray.
Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed threatens to bury his ‘enemies’
With Tigrayan troops preparing to move on Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, on Sunday vowed to bury his government’s adversaries “with our blood and bones.”
Abiy Ahmed took to Facebook and called on people to take up guns to stop the Tigray People’s Liberation Front from advancing towards the capital.
However, Facebook removed the post as it violated its policies against inciting violence.
Last month, it was revealed that Facebook had been warned that its platform was being used by armed organisations in Ethiopia to promote violence against ethnic minorities in a major leak of information.
War crimes in Ethiopian conflict
According to a joint investigation by the UN and Ethiopia’s human rights commission, all parties in Ethiopia’s deadly year-long civil war may have committed war crimes and other crimes against humanity.
The most extensive study yet on the battle, which has centred on the rebel region of Tigray, has a slew of first-hand stories of killings, torture, and sexual abuse in a conflict that started precisely a year ago.
It was issued a day after Ethiopia announced a state of emergency and two days after Tigrayan troops threatened to march on Addis Ababa to overthrow the government.