- November 25, 2021
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Foreigners ordered to vacate Ethiopia as Prime minister, celebrities join frontline to fight rebels
The US, France and Germany have joined other countries in urging their citizens to leave Ethiopia as fighting between federal forces and rebel groups moves closer to the capital, Addis Ababa.
The UN has also announced evacuation flights for family members of its staff in the country. The presidents of neighbouring Kenya and South Africa have joined calls for an urgent cease-fire. As the security situation worsens in Ethiopia, there are increasing concerns about what happens next.
CNN reports the US military has prepared special forces to assist its embassy workers and citizens if the security situation deteriorates in the Horn of Africa nation.
Briefing reporters in Washington Tuesday, US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman said there was progress in getting all parties to agree to a cease-fire.
Feltman expressed fears the military confrontation threatens Ethiopia’s stability and unity. The Kenyan and South African presidents Tuesday also called for a cease-fire.
In November of last year, armed conflict broke out in the Tigray region between Ethiopian government forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Since then, the conflict has spread to other parts of the country. Tigray forces and the Oromo Liberation Army threaten to drive Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed out of power by storming Addis Ababa.
On Tuesday, Abiy said he would be at the front line to guide troops against the advancing rebel groups. Tobias Wellner is a sub-Saharan Africa senior intelligence analyst with Dragonfly Intelligence, a group that works on global security and political risks. He said Abiy’s plan to lead the military on the battlefront is to keep the troops’ morale high.
On Wednesday, Ethiopian government spokesman Legesse Tulu said the prime minister had arrived at the battlefront without giving details. Tulu also said Abiy’s deputy, Demeke Mekonnen Hassen, is handling government activities while he is away.
The Tigray leadership is calling on lifting the humanitarian blockade so that more than 400,000 people can receive much-needed humanitarian assistance. The government wants Tigray forces and other rebel groups to leave areas of the country they have captured.