Ethiopia prepares for all-out war as rebels advance in capital – News Couple

Ethiopia prepares for all-out war as rebels advance in capital

People hold lit candles at a memorial service for the victims of the Tigray conflict organized by the city administration, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on November 3, 2021.

Minas Wendimo Hailo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A year after fighting began in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, rebel forces are now advancing on the country’s capital while authorities are urging citizens to mobilize.

The government declared a six-month state of emergency on Tuesday, days after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and authorities in Addis Ababa called on Ethiopians to take up arms to defend their neighborhoods against the Tigray Defense Forces, a merger of forces from the Tigray former ruler of the region. The People’s Liberation Front and other rebel groups.

And nine anti-government groups in the country announced, on Friday, the formation of an alliance called the United Front of the Ethiopian Federal and Confederation Forces, with the aim of overthrowing the government.

Dying for Ethiopia is the duty of all of us.

Abiy Ahmed

Prime Minister of Ethiopia

The coalition includes the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which has been embroiled in a conflict with the Ethiopian National Defense Forces since November 2020, that has displaced more than two million people, according to the United Nations, and killed thousands.

Last week, the city administration in Addis Ababa held a candlelit memorial service for the victims of the Tigray conflict on its first anniversary. However, diplomats and regional leaders are now scrambling to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table as concerns grow about the potential collapse of Africa’s second most populous country.

International human rights violations

On Wednesday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission issued a joint report documenting human rights violations by all parties against civilians in Tigray.

The joint investigation concluded that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that all parties to the conflict in Tigray have committed, to varying degrees, violations of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

The Ethiopian government has pledged to investigate allegations of human rights abuses, but Laetitia Bader, director of the Horn of Africa desk at Human Rights Watch, called for “robust international scrutiny.”

Demonstrators march in Washington, D.C. on November 4, 2021, marking the first anniversary of the Ethiopian government’s decision to deploy troops to the country’s northernmost region of Tigray.

Olivier Doolery | AFP | Getty Images

“Concerned governments should urgently establish and support an independent international investigative mechanism that can ensure credible scrutiny, preserve evidence for future trials, and facilitate genuine accountability,” she said in a statement Thursday.

“Victims of abuse and affected communities deserve nothing less.”

Reports have also emerged of government forces arresting Tigrays in the capital, raising fears of ethnically motivated violence.

The US embassy in Addis Ababa allowed the departure of non-emergency staff and family members after Washington said it was “extremely concerned” about the expansion and escalation of hostilities, and also urged US citizens to flee the country.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali and his wife Zenash Tiacho attend a memorial service for the victims of the Tigray conflict organized by the city administration, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on November 3, 2021.

Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Office | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

US envoy Jeffrey Feltman traveled to Ethiopia on Wednesday to meet with state officials, African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat confirmed State Department spokesman Ned Price on Thursday, reiterating calls for a diplomatic solution. The United States also repeated its threat to impose more sanctions on the country.

“We call on them to enter into negotiations without preconditions for a sustainable ceasefire. We once again call on the Eritrean forces for the immediate and permanent withdrawal from Ethiopia, and again call for those responsible for human rights violations and abuses to be held accountable,” Price said in a press conference.

Abiy won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for his role in brokering a landmark peace deal, and Eritrea has now acknowledged that its forces are helping Ethiopian troops across the border.

Regular NDF air strikes against Mekele, the regional capital of Tigray, continue after a major offensive launched on October 11 failed to halt the SDF’s advance.

Various parties have made conflicting claims about the status of the TDF’s progress, but announcements from Addis Ababa have shown growing concern.

Strengthening the position of the detachable

Abiy called on the Ethiopians to use “any kind of weapons to repel the destructive weapons.” [TDF advance]to his heart and burial,” he added, adding that “death for Ethiopia is the duty of all of us.” Facebook removed one of his posts on Thursday for “inciting violence.”

“This kind of language paints a bleak picture and suggests that the TDF has the potential to strike both at the administrative and geographical heart of Ethiopia,” said Lou Neal, senior political analyst at Oxford Economics Africa.

However, Neill suggested that while an attack on the capital seemed more likely than it had a few weeks ago, it might not be possible or desirable at this point.

“The TPLF may look to consolidate progress and possibly shift its focus to capturing transport links between Addis Ababa (landlocked Ethiopia) and Djibouti,” he said in a note last week.

“This will greatly enhance its negotiating position with the aim of a real ceasefire and its larger demands, which may include secession,” he added.

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