Ethiopia faces brutal civil war, declares state of emergency

Ethiopia is at war with itself, with regional forces threatening to overtake the capital “within months if not weeks”. And the federal government, which came to power on the promise of restoring democracy and stability, is accused of “big human rights violations” and “extreme brutality” in the course of the war it opened almost an year ago.

Ethiopia declared a nationwide state of emergency on Tuesday and ordered residents of Addis Ababa to prepare to defend their neighbourhoods amid fears that Tigrayan rebels were heading for the capital.

The measures came after several days of reported advances by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel group, which is locked in a brutal year-long war against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.

“The state of emergency is aimed to protect civilians from atrocities being committed by the terrorist TPLF group in several parts of the country,” State-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported. Possible restrictions include a curfew, road closures and searches of “anyone suspected of collaborating with terror groups”, Fana said.

Following the announcement, Ahmed urged citizens “to undertake their role and cooperate with law enforcement entities”. “This is a testing time where all these problems piled up simultaneously. Until the test passes, it’s inevitable every person will be tested,” he tweeted.

Under the state of emergency, authorities can conscript “any military age citizen who has weapons” or suspend media outlets believed to be “giving moral support directly or indirectly” to the TPLF, according to state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front has claimed significant territorial gains in recent days, along with its ally the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).

Odaa Tarbii, a spokesman for OLA, which has also claimed recent advances in Amhara and in the Oromia region surrounding Addis Ababa, said his group intended to topple Abiy’s government, calling his removal “a foregone conclusion”.

“If things continue in the current trajectory, then we are talking about a matter of months if not weeks,” he said, referring to OLA’s move on Addis Ababa.

In recent days the TPLF has claimed control of two key cities in Amhara, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Addis Ababa.

Source – Firstpost