Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed vows to lead army ‘from the battlefront’
“Those who wish to be included among the Ethiopian youngsters who will be remembered by history, get up now for your nation.” Let’s meet in the front lines.”
Tens of thousands of people are thought to have died in the struggle between Ethiopian and ally troops and fighters from the country’s northern Tigray region, who controlled the national government before to Abiy’s election. The US and others have worried that Africa’s second-most populous nation might fragment and destabilize the rest of the continent.
The 45-year-old prime leader, a former soldier, did not specify where he would travel on Tuesday. His spokesperson, Billene Seyoum, did not reply to an Associated Press request for comment.
Former US ambassador William Lawrence noticed that Abiy utilized a lot of battle imagery while winning his Nobel Prize, but this was done to emphasize the misery of war.
“And here we are virtually full circle, with a Nobel Peace Prize recipient adopting the most bellicose rhetoric to try and raise the stakes ahead of not just the defense of Ethiopia, but life and death,” Lawrence added. “He essentially says he’s prepared to die for the cause.”
Abiy’s remarks came as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel group pressed forward into Addis Abeba, seizing possession of the town of Shewa Robit, which is just 220 kilometers (136 miles) northeast of the city by road.
It also came after a meeting of the executive committee of the governing Prosperity Party to address the conflict.
After the discussion, Defence Minister Abraham Belay informed state-run media that security forces will take a “different approach,” although he did not elaborate.
“We can’t go on like this, therefore there will be change,” Belay added.
“What has occurred and is occurring to our people, the atrocities perpetrated by this destructive, terrorist, robber organization, must continue.”
Getachew Reda, a spokesperson for the Tigray army, stated that “our forces will not cease on their inexorable approach towards breaking (Abiy’s) chokehold on our people.”
Tigray troops claim they are putting pressure on Ethiopia’s government to ease a months-long siege of the six-million-person Tigray region, but they also want Abiy out of office.
The prime minister’s speech also stated that Western nations were attempting to defeat Ethiopia, the latest retaliation for what his administration has labeled as foreign intervention.
Envoys from the African Union and the United States have maintained diplomatic efforts in pursuit of a cease-fire in the conflict and discussions on a political settlement without preconditions.
Many people, according to Abbas Haji Gnamo, a specialist in Ethiopian politics at the University of Toronto in Canada, are still hopeful for a political solution.
“Diplomats must find a political route,” he said in an Al Jazeera broadcast obtained by NCMP. “Abiy will not be able to win this battle.” Ethiopia’s army is quite weak. They’re losing cities, and his going to the front lines won’t help. Negotiations are the only way out of this.”
Members of Ethiopia’s Republican Guards march during a demonstration last month in Meskel Square in Addis Ababa to honor Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s incumbency. According to analysts, the armed forces have been “significantly weakened.” [Photo by Tiksa Negeri/Reuters]
A senior State Department official told reporters shortly after Abiy’s remarks that the US still thinks “a little window of possibility remains” in mediation efforts.
Within a year, Abiy’s administration has shifted from referring to the Tigray conflict as a “law enforcement operation” to a “existential war.” With Ethiopia’s military allegedly weakened in recent months and its withdrawal from Tigray in June, ethnic-based regional groups have stepped up their battle, and Abiy’s administration has urged all able people to join the war. The government proclaimed a six-month state of emergency earlier this month.
Awol Allo, a senior professor in law at Keele University in the United Kingdom, was taken aback by Abiy’s declaration. “The announcement is loaded with martyrdom and sacrificial languages,” he tweeted. “The fact that this is so unique and unprecedented demonstrates how serious the situation is.”
Abiy received the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing peace to neighboring Eritrea, on whose border he battled while stationed in the Tigray area.
The specifics of the peace agreement were never made public.