“There is no military solution to the conflict in Ethiopia“, hammered a spokesman for the US State Department on Wednesday evening, urging the parties”to refrain from all inflammatory and bellicose rhetoric” and “to show restraint“.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, visiting Colombia, urged him “urgent call” has a “immediate and unconditional ceasefire in order to save“the country, after more than a year of conflict marked by the specter of famine.
Mr. Abiy, Nobel Peace Prize 2019, “now leads the counter-offensive” and “rule the battlefield since yesterday“, reported Fana Broadcasting Corporate, affirming that in Addis Ababa Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen now manages”Current affairs“.
It was not possible to know the exact whereabouts of Mr. Abiy, a former army radio operator turned lieutenant colonel. Fana did not broadcast images of him on the pitch.
Returning from a new mission in Addis Ababa, the US envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, reported on Tuesday “nascent progress“with a view to a diplomatic settlement of the conflict. But he warned that”climbing“military risk making them useless.
The war started in Tigray in November 2020 when Mr. Abiy sent the federal army there to remove the authorities, from the Tigray Liberation Front (TPLF), who challenged his authority and whom he accused of attacking military bases.
Mr. Abiy proclaimed victory three weeks later, after the capture of the regional capital Mekele. But in June, the TPLF retook most of Tigray and continued its offensive in the neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar.
This week, the TPLF claimed to control Shewa Robit, 220 km northeast of Addis Ababa.
– An Olympic medalist as a rookie –
On Wednesday, hundreds of new army recruits, urged by Mr. Abiy to “join the survival campaign“according to Fana, participated in a ceremony in Addis Ababa.
“I was amazed when I heard“that the prime minister wanted to join the soldiers on the ground,” Tesfaye Sherefa, a 42-year-old driver who was among the conscripts told AFP.When a leader leaves (…) his throne it is to save his country. His goal is not to live but to save his country, and I cried when he said + follow me + and went to the front line.”
Among those who have pledged to fight is marathon runner and Olympic medalist Feyisa Lilesa, who said the rebel advance represented a “great opportunity“to defend the country.
“When a country is desecrated, it’s impossible for me not to move and just watch“he told another official media outlet, Ethiopian BC.
At the Rio Games in 2016, Mr. Feyisa made the headlines by crossing the finish line of the marathon with raised arms and cross – a gesture of solidarity with his Oromo people, including protests against the power, then long since in the hands of the TPLF, were under heavy repression.
– Exodus –
The government continues to claim that the progress of the TPLF is exaggerated, denouncing sensationalist media coverage and security recommendations from embassies deemed alarmist.
The UN expressed concern on Wednesday after reports of large-scale population displacements in western Tigray, where Washington has already warned of ethnic cleansing.
These movements would be made from an area bordering Sudan and Eritrea, said the High Commissioner for Refugees. Zonal authorities in Tigray reported 8,000 new arrivals, possibly as high as 20,000, but these figures could not be confirmed immediately.
London on Wednesday called on its nationals to leave “at once“Ethiopia, reporting a”deterioration“quick of the situation.
France, Italy, Germany, Ireland and the United States have made similar appeals. Washington, London and the European Union have also withdrawn their non-essential personnel while the UN will evacuate the families of its international employees by Thursday.