The Nobel Peace Prize winner Prime Minister stated that he will lead the army to fight the Tigray rebels from Tuesday.
The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, stated that he will lead his country’s army “from the front line” starting from Tuesday. As the year-long conflict gets closer and closer to the capital Addis Ababa, this is a dramatic New steps.
“Starting tomorrow, I will be mobilized to lead the National Defense Forces on the front lines,” Abi Ahmed said in a statement posted on Twitter later on Monday.
“Those who want to be Ethiopian children praised by history, stand up for your country today. Let’s meet on the front lines.”
It is estimated that tens of thousands of people were killed in the war between Ethiopian and Allied forces and fighters from the Tigray region in the north of the country, who dominated the national government before Abiy took office. The United States and other countries have warned that the second most populous country in Africa may divide and destabilize the rest of the region.
The 45-year-old former military prime minister’s statement did not say where he will go on Tuesday. His spokeswoman Billene Seyoum did not respond to the Associated Press’ request for comment.
Abi’s remarks came as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel group continued to pressure Addis Ababa, claiming to control the town of Shewa Robit, which is only 220 kilometers (136 miles) northeast of the capital, by road.
Earlier, the ruling Welfare Party’s executive committee convened a meeting to discuss the war.
Defense Minister Abraham Pele told the state-affiliated media after the meeting that the security forces will take “different actions,” but did not provide details.
“We can’t continue like this, which means there will be changes,” Pele said.
“What has happened and is happening to our people, this destructive, terrifying, and bandit group abuse cannot continue.”
Getachew Reda, a spokesperson for the Tigray Forces, tweeted: “Our troops will not relax their relentless advance to end the strangulation of (Abi) on our people.”
The Tigray forces stated that they are pressing the Ethiopian government to lift the months-long blockade of the approximately 6 million people in the Tigray area, but they also hope that Abi will step down.
The Prime Minister’s statement also claimed that Western countries are trying to defeat Ethiopia, which is the latest counterattack to what his government calls the intervention of the international community. Special envoys from the African Union and the United States continue their diplomatic efforts to achieve a ceasefire and talks without a political settlement.
Soon after Abbey announced the news, a senior U.S. State Department official told reporters that the U.S. still believes that mediation efforts “exist a small window of opportunity.”
In a year’s time, the Abbey government has changed from describing the Tigray conflict as an “law enforcement action” to an “existentialist war.” According to reports, the Ethiopian army has weakened in recent months and withdrew from Tigray in June. Ethnic-based regional forces have been strengthening their movement. The Abiy government called on all capable citizens to join the fight. Earlier this month, the government declared a six-month state of emergency.
Abi’s announcement shocked Avor Allo, a senior lecturer in law at Keele University in the United Kingdom, who nominated him for the Nobel Prize. He said in a tweet: “The announcement is full of language of martyrdom and sacrifice.” “This is so extraordinary and unprecedented, and it shows how desperate the situation is.”
Abiy won the Nobel Prize for making peace with neighboring Eritrea. He fought on the border of Eritrea while stationed in the Tigray region.
The terms of the peace agreement have never been made public.