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World UN fears sectarian violence that could 'fracture' Ethiopia

11:33  02 december  2021
11:33  02 december  2021 Source:   afp.com

Ethiopia's Nobel Peace-Winning Prime Minister Says Current War Is a 'Time for Martyrdom'

  Ethiopia's Nobel Peace-Winning Prime Minister Says Current War Is a 'Time for Martyrdom' Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is preparing for rival Tigray forces as they move closer to Addis Ababa."This is a time when leading a country with martyrdom is needed," Abiy, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, said in a statement posted on social media Monday night.

Ethiopia risks descending into sectarian violence and experiencing a chaotic Kabul-style exodus if the year-long conflict spreads to the capital Addis Ababa, the UN aid chief warned.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths tells AFP of his deep concern for the stability of a nation of 115 million people composed of more than 80 ethnic groups. © Fabrice COFFRINI UN aid chief Martin Griffiths tells AFP of his deep concern for the stability of a nation of 115 million people composed of more than 80 ethnic groups.

In an interview with AFP, Martin Griffiths expressed deep concern for the stability of a nation of 115 million people composed of more than 80 ethnic groups.

Griffiths, the UN undersecretary for humanitarian affairs, said the conflict in Ethiopia has sparked perhaps the world's most worrying humanitarian crisis.

Protestors call out Joe Biden's foreign policy in Ethiopia while its diaspora remains divided over civil war

  Protestors call out Joe Biden's foreign policy in Ethiopia while its diaspora remains divided over civil war Ethiopian Americans tell Insider they are upset with Joe Biden's policy toward Ethiopia. They want the White House to support the democratically elected leaders. "It's a lot of disappointment in the suffering that's happening back in our native country," Aregawi said. "A lot of disappointment in our home here in America and that some officials just don't seem to be living up to values that we expected them to.

He warned that a battle in the capital Addis Ababa and increasing communal violence could worsen the situation "exponentially".

Humanitarian organisations have been scrambling to respond to soaring needs in Ethiopia, and laying contingency plans in case the crisis deepens.

"The worst I think from a humanitarian perspective (would be) if there is a battle for Addis or turmoil around there, leading to increased communal violence across the country," Griffiths said.

Map showing Ethiopian regions where the Tigray People's Liberation Front and allies have launched offensives and a zoom of the capital Addis Ababa. © Gal ROMA Map showing Ethiopian regions where the Tigray People's Liberation Front and allies have launched offensives and a zoom of the capital Addis Ababa.

"If that were to happen, we're facing something I don't think we have faced before for many, many years: We're facing a fracture ... of the fabric of Ethiopia."

Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa may fall soon to rebels, but there will be no Afghanistan-style airlift, the US warns

  Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa may fall soon to rebels, but there will be no Afghanistan-style airlift, the US warns The State Department urged US citizens to leave immediately, adding that there are still commercial flights available from the country's capital.In a security alert, the department urged US citizens to leave immediately, adding that there are still commercial flights available from the country's capital Addis Ababa.

The chaos flowing from such a situation would be far worse than what has happened in the last 13 months.

Thousands of people have been killed, two million displaced and hundreds of thousands driven into famine-like conditions since the conflict erupted in November 2020, according to UN estimates.

The year-long conflict in Ethiopia took a sharp turn around a month ago, when TPLF rebels claimed to have captured strategic towns on a key highway to the capital Addis Ababa. © EDUARDO SOTERAS The year-long conflict in Ethiopia took a sharp turn around a month ago, when TPLF rebels claimed to have captured strategic towns on a key highway to the capital Addis Ababa.

- 'Unimaginable' -

The conflict began when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into the northernmost Tigray region to topple the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) -- a move he said came in response to rebel attacks on army camps.

The rebels mounted a comeback, recapturing most of Tigray by June before expanding into the neighbouring regions of Amhara and Afar.

The conflict took a sharp turn around a month ago, when the TPLF claimed to have captured strategic towns on a key highway to the capital.

US: 'Nascent' progress in Ethiopia talks could be outpaced

  US: 'Nascent' progress in Ethiopia talks could be outpaced NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A United States envoy said Tuesday he sees “nascent progress” in talks with Ethiopia’s warring sides toward a cease-fire, but he fears it will be outpaced by “alarming” military developments in the yearlong war in Africa's second-most populous country. Jeffrey Feltman spoke to reporters after his latest visit to Ethiopia, where rival Tigray forces continue pushing toward the capital, Addis Ababa, and a growing number of countries tell their citizens to leave immediately. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday announced he will lead “from the battlefield” in a war that is estimated to have killed tens of thousands of people.

But last week Abiy himself deployed to the conflict zone, and the government has since claimed it is back in control of several towns including the UNESCO World Heritage site Lalibela.

Griffiths called for an end to the violence.

Even if fighting approaches the Ethiopian capital, he insisted "major targets should be avoided," including the airport and the city itself, with a population of over five million, "where it is unimaginable to think of a battle like that."

He said: "The real, elemental worry is if the conflict mutates into communal violence across different parts of the country, as opposed to conflict between the government and specific groups... That would make everything exponentially worse."

- 'Misery' -

While the UN was intent on staying to provide aid regardless, he said fears abound among expatriates like diplomats and others in Addis that the country could witness scenes reminiscent of the chaotic airport evacuation after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August.

They worry "the same thing might happen that happened in Kabul," he said.

Ethiopian leader called war 'epitome of hell.' Now he's back

  Ethiopian leader called war 'epitome of hell.' Now he's back NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is already a veteran at surprising the world in just three years in power. He's done it again this week by announcing that, after a year of waging war, he will lead it from the battlefront. Abiy’s rule has been short in the vast sweep of Ethiopian history, but he has spent almost all his life preparing for it. Told as a child by his mother that she believed he would lead Ethiopia, he now speaks of martyrdom, if needed, to hold the nation together. Abiy rocketed to office out of seemingly nowhere in 2018 with vows of dramatic reforms to a long-repressive national government.

Asked if he believed that really might happen, he said: "I think it could, but I hope it won't."

Speaking to AFP ahead of the launch of the international humanitarian communities annual global appeal, Griffiths pointed out that the nearly $3 billion requested to address aid needs in Ethiopia next year was dramatically higher than in previous appeals "because of the likelihood that these needs will grow."

The UN's World Food Programme said last week that the number of people requiring food aid in Ethiopia's war-torn north had surged to more than nine million, while drought has also deepened food insecurity in other regions.

The UN has warned that 400,000 people in the north of the country were at risk of famine, but Griffiths said a lack of fuel and access to assess the situation on the ground meant a full-blown famine had yet to be confirmed.

With improved access and more available fuel, UN agencies are now aiming to make the assessment within weeks.

Asked if there was a risk of a repeat of the devastating famine conditions that killed more than a million people in Ethiopia in the mid-1980s, Griffiths said he hoped not.

"I just hope to God that we're not going to see that kind of misery."

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State-affiliated TV says Ethiopia's PM is at the battlefront .
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A state-affiliated broadcaster on Friday purportedly showed Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister on the battlefront of the country’s yearlong war against Tigray forces, four days after he announced he would direct the army from there. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in military uniform, claimed that the war “is being conducted with a high level of success” and referred to locations on the border between the country’s Amhara and Afar regions, which neighbor Tigray.

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This is interesting!