cloudyn.png
Monday January 17th, 2022 11:05PM

Ethiopia PM says he will lead army 'from the battlefront'

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister says he will lead his country’s army “from the battlefront” beginning Tuesday, a dramatic new step in a devastating yearlong war.

“This is a time when leading a country with martyrdom is needed,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a statement posted on social media Monday night. With rival Tigray forces moving closer to the capital of Addis Ababa, his government declared a state of emergency earlier this month.

An estimated tens of thousands of people have been killed in the war between Ethiopian and allied forces and fighters from the country’s northern Tigray region, who long dominated the national government before Abiy took office. The United States and others have warned that Africa’s second-most populous country could fracture and destabilize the Horn of Africa.

The statement by the prime minister, a former soldier, did not say where exactly he will go Tuesday. His spokeswoman, Billene Seyoum, did not respond to a request for comment.

“Let’s meet at the battlefront,” the 45-year-old prime minister said.

In response, the spokesman for the Tigray forces Getachew Reda tweeted that “our forces won't relent on their inexorable advance towards bringing (Abiy's) chokehold on our people to an end.” The Tigray forces say they are pressuring Ethiopia's government to lift a months-long blockade of the Tigray region of some 6 million people, but they also want Abiy out of power.

The prime minister's statement also claimed that the West is trying to defeat Ethiopia, the latest pushback against what his government has described as meddling by the international community. Envoys from the African Union and the U.S. have continued diplomatic efforts in pursuit of a ceasefire to the fighting and talks without preconditions on a political solution.

Shortly after Abiy's announcement, a senior State Department official told reporters the U.S. still believes “a small window of opportunity exists" in the mediation efforts.

In a year’s time, Abiy’s government has gone from describing the Tigray conflict as a “law enforcement operation” to an “existential war." With Ethiopia's military reportedly weakened in recent months, and with its retreat from Tigray in June, ethnic-based regional forces have been stepping up and Abiy's government has called on all able citizens to join the fight.

The prime minister chaired an executive meeting Monday of the ruling Prosperity Party, and Defense Minister Abraham Belay told state media that “all security forces will start taking special measures and tactics as of tomorrow." He declined to elaborate.

Abiy's announcement brought shock from the man who nominated him for the Nobel, Awol Allo, a senior lecturer in law at Keele University in Britain. “The announcement is replete with languages of martyrdom and sacrifice,” he said in a tweet. “This is so extraordinary and unprecedented, shows how desperate the situation is.”

The prime minister in his 2019 Nobel acceptance speech spoke passionately about war: “I crawled my way to peace through the dusty trenches of war years ago. ... I witnessed firsthand the ugliness of war in frontline battles. ... War is the epitome of hell for all involved. I know because I have been there and back.”

Abiy was awarded the Nobel for making peace with neighboring Eritrea, on whose border he fought while stationed in the Tigray region.

The terms of that peace deal have never been made public. Critics of the current conflict allege that the deal was instead an agreement for the two countries to wage war on the Tigray leaders, who were unpopular among many Ethiopians for their repressive 27-year rule despite significant development gains.

Eritrean soldiers have been blamed for some of the worst atrocities in the war, even as Abiy denied for months that they were inside Tigray.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Attorneys make final case to jurors in Ahmaud Arbery's death
Closing arguments are underway in the trial of the three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery last year in Georgia
2:46PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Police: Parade-crash suspect was in a domestic disturbance
Police say the suspect in a deadly Christmas parade crash in suburban Milwaukee was in a domestic disturbance just minutes before he killed five people and injured 48
2:40PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Two Fox contributors quit, citing 'irresponsible' voices
Two Fox News Channel contributors have quit, saying “irresponsible” voices have drowned out the responsible on the network
2:37PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Amazon to cut down plastic packaging in Germany
Amazon says it plans to cut the use of plastic packaging in Germany following complaints that the online retailer is contributing to growing mountains of waste
1:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
Brit Awards scrap separate male, female prize categories
The U.K.'s Brit Awards are scrapping separate male and female artist categories in a shakeup designed to make the music prizes more inclusive
1:46PM ( 1 hour ago )
Lukashenko assails EU for refusing to hold talks on migrants
The authoritarian leader of Belarus has criticized the European Union for its refusal to hold talks on the influx of migrants on the country’s border with Poland
1:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Attorneys make final case to jurors in Ahmaud Arbery's death
Closing arguments are underway in the trial of the three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery last year in Georgia
2:46PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Police: Parade-crash suspect was in a domestic disturbance
Police say the suspect in a deadly Christmas parade crash in suburban Milwaukee was in a domestic disturbance just minutes before he killed five people and injured 48
2:40PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Two Fox contributors quit, citing 'irresponsible' voices
Two Fox News Channel contributors have quit, saying “irresponsible” voices have drowned out the responsible on the network
2:37PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Flight carrying over 100 evacuated Afghans reaches Greece
More than 100 Afghans believed to have been at risk from the Taliban have been granted temporary shelter in Greece after being evacuated on a special flight to the northern city of Thessaloniki
2:31PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Probe finds 'overwhelming evidence' of misconduct by Cuomo
A legislative investigation has found “overwhelming evidence” that former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo engaged in sexual harassment and ordered state workers to help produce his book during work hours
2:27PM ( 40 minutes ago )