Demonstrators in Addis Ababa Demonstrators in Addis Ababa  (AFP or licensors)

Tense situation in Ethiopia as rebels advance on capital

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, over the weekend in a show of support for the government and military.

By Nathan Morley

This rally came just a few days after the government declared a state of emergency amid gains claimed by Tigrayan forces advancing toward the capital.

Nine rebel groups have pledged to join forces in an alliance built around the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been battling a 12-month war.

The conflict has killed thousands and pushed many more into famine-like conditions.

Calls for ceasefire

Faced with the recent escalation in fighting, the United Nations' Security Council has called for a ceasefire in a rare joint declaration on the issue which expressed "deep concern about the expansion and intensification of military clashes in northern Ethiopia."

The trouble started last November when Abiy sent his armed forces into Tigray to topple the TPLF, accusing it of ­attacking military installations.

Since then, war crimes and other crimes against humanity may have been conducted by all sides in the conflict.

Diplomats and foreigners urged to leave

Over the weekend, the United States instructed all of its non-essential diplomats and their families to leave Ethiopia. Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Denmark have also urged their citizens to leave the country.

The move from Washington comes as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed urged people to make sacrifices to fend off rebels threatening to advance on the capital.

08 November 2021, 14:18