Troops allied against Ethiopia’s central government are on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, a diplomatic source told CNN Wednesday, a day after authorities announced a nationwide state of emergencyand called on citizens to take up arms to defend the capital.
The spreading conflict comes as the United Nations condemned possible “war crimes” uncovered in a joint investigation into the bloody year-long war in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.The highly anticipated report was published almost a year to the day since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive against Tigray’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Twelve months on, the fighting has left thousands dead, displaced more than 2 million people from their homes, fueled famine and given rise to a wave of atrocities.
Now, with combined rebel forces edging closer to Addis Ababa, fears are growing that the conflict could spiral into all-out war.https://dbcc3310e729aa247d17924843472c25.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
A senior diplomatic source in Ethiopia told CNN on Wednesday that fighters from the Tigray Defense Force (TDF) and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) were on the outskirts of the capital. The OLA is an outlawed armed group from Oromia, the country’s most populous region.
The source added that the rebels had the firepower to be inside the city within hours, if they chose to be, but would prefer to wait for an agreement to be put in place.The rapid advance of the fighters, who said Sunday they had seized two key towns on the road to Addis Ababa, has raised concerns among Ethiopia’s leaders that the capital could fall.
Abiy has urged citizens to take up arms and fight the Tigrayan forces. “Our people should march … with any weapon and resources they have to defend, repulse and bury the terrorist TPLF,” Abiy said in a Facebook post Sunday.The post was later taken down by Facebook. “We were made aware of a post by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister and removed this for violating our policies against inciting and supporting violence,” a spokesperson for Facebook-owner Meta Company said in a statement.Abiy doubled down on that rhetoric in a speech at the Ethiopian military’s headquarters on Wednesday, where he pledged to bury his government’s enemies “with our blood and bones and make the glory of Ethiopia high again.” nullAddis Ababa’s city administration was instructing residents on Wednesday to register their weapons and gather in local neighborhoods to “safeguard” their surroundings, Reuters reported.It marks a dramatic escalation in the Tigray conflict, which has spilled over into ethnic violence in neighboring regions and has the potential to pull Africa’s second-most populous country apart.