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Ethiopia: the Tragedy of the Country and Abiy Ahmed Personally

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According to state media, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed vowed to “bury the enemy” in his first message from the battlefront, according to state media, as the UN warned the yearlong conflict has left millions short of food. As Tigrayan rebels report major territorial gains, claiming to have seized a town 220 kilometers from Addis Ababa, international alarm over the escalating conflict has deepened, with foreign countries urging their citizens to leave.

State media reported that Abiy, a former lieutenant colonel in the military, had arrived at the front line to lead a counteroffensive against the rebels, handing regular duties to his deputy. In an interview shown on the state-affiliated Oromia Broadcasting Corporation channel, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner said he was certain of achieving victory against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel group. He added that the military had secured control of Kassagita and planned to recapture Chifra district and Burka town in Afar region, which neighbors Tigray, the TPLF’s stronghold. The interview was broadcast hours after the government announced new rules Thursday against sharing information on battlefield outcomes that was not published by official channels, a move that could bring sanctions against journalists.

The war has exacted a huge humanitarian toll, with the UN’s World Food Program saying that the number of people requiring food aid in the country’s north had surged to more than 9 million. Hundreds of thousands are on the brink of famine as aid workers struggle to deliver urgently needed supplies to desperate populations in Tigray, Amhara and Afar. The WFP said the situation had sharply deteriorated in recent months, with an estimated 9.4 million people facing hunger “as a direct result of ongoing conflict,” compared with around 7 million in September. “Amhara region – the front lines of the conflict in Ethiopia — has seen the largest jump in numbers with 3.7 million people now in urgent need of humanitarian aid,” WFP said. “Of the people across northern Ethiopia in need of assistance, more than 80% (7.8 million) of them are behind battle lines.” The report said that the risk of........

© New Eastern Outlook

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