Ethiopia says that Abiy is on the war front and handed over the tasks to the deputy
Nairobi – The Ethiopian government said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed went to the battlefront to take over responsibility in a year-long war and left the day-to-day work of running the country to his deputy, as rival fighters approached the capital, Addis Ababa.
The prime minister, 45, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and former soldier, arrived at the front on Tuesday, government spokesman Legis Tulu told reporters, without giving details of the location, and state media did not show pictures of him. Legisl said Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen is in charge of day-to-day government activities.
The war in Africa’s second most populous country has killed an estimated tens of thousands of people, and countries such as France, Germany and Turkey have asked their citizens to leave immediately as rival fighters advance from Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.
US envoy Jeffrey Feltman told reporters on Tuesday that he feared “nascent” progress in mediation efforts with the warring parties could be preceded by “disturbing” military developments. Tigray forces dominated the former national government for 27 years before Abiy took power in 2018, and a growing political row turned to war in November 2020.
“Unless there is some kind of divine intervention, I don’t see any opportunity for a peaceful solution through dialogue because the situations are very polarized,” said Kasahun Berhanu, professor of political science at Addis Ababa University. Going to the front “aims to raise popular morale.”
The Tigrayans said they wanted my father out. Abiy’s government wants the Tigray forces, which they designated a terrorist group, to withdraw to their region.
The prime minister not only announced this week that he would go to the battlefront, but also called on Ethiopians to join him, the latest call for every capable citizen of the country of more than 110 million people to join the fight. Urgent military exercises and allegations of conscription have taken place in recent months, while analysts have warned of the growing presence of ethnic militias as the military is said to be weakening.
Millions of civilians are trapped and starving because of the war. The Ethiopian government has besieged the Tigray region for several months, fearing that humanitarian aid might end up in the hands of fighters, while hundreds of thousands of people in the neighboring Amhara and Afar regions are out of reach of significant aid after Tigray forces regain control. The area began in June and began to make its way towards the capital.
Another target of the Tigrayan forces appears to be the supply line from neighboring Djibouti to the Ethiopian capital, and the US envoy warned on Tuesday in statements to the combatant journalists not to cut off the road to Djibouti or enter Addis Ababa.
That could be “disastrous” for the country, Feltman said.
African Union envoy Olusegun Obasanjo also mediated but has not spoken publicly about his work in recent days.
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