Panic in Addis Ababa over escalation of armed conflict between state forces, rebels 

THERE is a cloud of uncertainty in Ethiopia as airlines departing Addis Ababa are said to be fully booked, following the declaration of a six-month nationwide state of emergency on Tuesday.

Reports from Addis Ababa Wednesday indicated that airlines departing Addis Ababa were fully booked as diplomats, government officials and Ethiopian citizens fled the city for fear of an imminent takeover by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebels.

Justice Minister Gedion Timothewos told a state media briefing on Tuesday that the state of emergency was aimed at protecting civilians from atrocities being committed by the TPLF rebels and urged citizens to prepare to defend the capital against any form of ‘terrorist’ attack.

Timothewos warned that anyone suspected of having links with ‘terrorist’ groups could be detained without a court warrant, while anyone violating the emergency would face three to 10 years in prison for offences such as providing financial, material or moral support to ‘terrorist groups.’

“Our country is facing a grave danger to its existence, sovereignty and unity. And we can’t dispel this danger through the usual law enforcement systems and procedures,” the minister said, adding that any citizen who had reached the age of military service could be called to fight.

War broke out on November 4, 2020, between Ethiopia and rebels in the Tigray region seeking to break away from the country when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed allegedly ordered an offensive against regional forces in northern Tigray region.

Government forces initially routed the rebels, but things changed in June with the Tigrayan fighters making significant territorial gains and are now reportedly approaching the capital, Addis Ababa.

The report of a joint investigation by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the UN Human Rights Office released on Wednesday uncovered varying degrees of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by all parties to the conflict in Tigray.

It examined the devastating impact the conflict had had on civilians and detailed a series of violations and abuses, including unlawful killings and extra-judicial executions, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, violations against refugees, and forced displacement of civilians.






     

     

    “This report presents an opportunity for all parties to acknowledge responsibility and commit to concrete measures on accountability, redress for victims and the search for a sustainable solution to end the suffering of millions,” said the Chief Commissioner of the EHRC Daniel Bekele.

    Meanwhile, the United States has issued a security alert on the continued escalation of armed conflict and civil unrest in Amhara, Afar and Tigray and has restricted U.S. Embassy personnel from traveling outside of Addis Ababa city limits.

    “We strongly suggest that U.S. citizens seriously reconsider travel to Ethiopia and those who are currently in Ethiopia consider making preparations to leave the country. If you are a U.S. citizen, or if you have a U.S. citizen family member, in Ethiopia please register your presence in Ethiopia with us immediately at [email protected],” the statement said.

    The United Nations has called for a lasting ceasefire from both sides.

     

     

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    1 COMMENT

    1. The situation in Ethiopia is heart breaking, Abiy Ahmed lead government shows lack of experience by waging war to a platform that give you the privilege to be a prime minister. TPLF are warlord and from my view, if peace deal is not agreed then Abiy Ahmed will definitely be on an exile, just a matter of time and eventually when they take affairs of the country, the TPLF will turn the war back to Eritrea.. This shows that conflict is not the best option rather you embrace dialogue..

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