9 Ethiopian armed teams type alliances to defeat

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Nine anti-government factions in Ethiopia will form an alliance on Friday, two of the groups mentioned in a statement from Reuters, as the press increases on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with rebel forces advancing towards the capital.

The alliance, which will be signed in Washington later on Friday, includes the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been locked in a year-long war against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.

The TPLF said on Wednesday that its troops had reached the town of Kemissie in the Amhara region, 325 kilometers (200 miles) northeast of the capital, and were conducting “joint operations” with the OLA, which predicted Addis Ababa could fall within weeks.

The nine groups said they were forming a united front “to reverse the damaging effects of the Abiy Ahmed regime on the people of Ethiopia … and in recognition of the great need to cooperate and join forces for a secure transition in the country. ”

It is unclear whether the alliance, called the United Front of the Ethiopian Federalist and Confederal Forces, will affect the course of the conflict, which the Abiy government has called “an existential war.”

The TPLF and OLA, which the government officially designated as terrorist groups in May, are well known, but the other seven members of the alliance are unclear, a diplomat said after security issues.

“If they are really serious about taking up arms against the government, it is potentially a real problem for the government,” the diplomat told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on the condition that he remain anonymous.

But the diplomat warned: “I do not know the majority of them, I do not know how many people they have, what resources they have.”

Abiy’s government has dismissed the rebels’ claims of territorial gains, saying on Thursday that the TPLF was “surrounded” and close to defeat, while urging Ethiopians to unite and join the fight.

The Prime Minister’s spokesperson, Billene Seyoum, asked about the new anti-government alliance, referring Reuters to a comment she posted on Twitter where she defended Abiy’s government since he took office in 2018 after a wave of anti-government protests. His party was re-elected in June.

“The opening of the political space three years ago provided good opportunities for challengers to resolve their differences at the ballot box in June 2021,” Seyoum said in the post. She did not refer directly to the new alliance. Spokesmen for the government and the Foreign Ministry did not respond to requests for comment on the alliance.

On Friday, the Department of Defense urged veterans to re-enter the armed forces “to protect the country from a conspiracy to dismantle it.”

Lawmakers also on Thursday approved a six-month state of emergency that allows authorities to detain without an arrest warrant anyone suspected of supporting “terrorist groups” or shutting down media believed to “provide moral support directly or indirectly” to the TPLF.

On Friday, security guard Amnesty International criticized the emergency measures.

Its East African leader, Deprose Muchena, called them “a plan to escalate human rights abuses, including arbitrary detentions, especially of human rights defenders, journalists, minorities and government critics.”

Two lawyers overseeing the arbitrary detention of Tigrayans in Addis Ababa told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Wednesday that they had received reports of dozens of people, and probably many more, gathered by city police since the emergency was announced, some of whom were taken from their home.

Amnesty also warned of an alarming increase in hate speech on social media, noting the presence of posts that “incite violence and use ethnic slander against Tigrayans, some of whom have gone unchecked”.

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said on Wednesday that it had removed a post by Abiy urging Ethiopians to “bury” the rebels for violating its policy of inciting and supporting violence.

The government on Thursday criticized the move, saying that Facebook “has now shown its true colors.”

African and Western nations are calling for an immediate ceasefire in Ethiopia after Tigrayan forces from the north said they had made progress towards the capital this week.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a tweet late Thursday: “The conflict in Ethiopia must come to an end. Peace talks should begin immediately without preconditions in the pursuit of a ceasefire.”

Spokesmen for the Ethiopian government and the TPLF did not respond to requests for comment on Blinken’s call for a ceasefire.

New sanction proposal

US senators on Thursday presented a new sanction proposal against parties in the conflict in Ethiopia.

“This is a regional crisis that requires a coordinated and intensive international response,” Senator Jim Risch, a Republican from Idaho, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The announcement of the new alliance comes during a two-day visit to Addis Ababa by US Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman.

On Thursday, he met with the President of the African Union, Moussa Faki, as well as the Ethiopian Minister of Defense, the Minister of Finance and the Deputy Prime Minister, according to the Foreign Ministry. It was not clear if the US envoy would meet with Abiy. His spokesperson said she had no information about it.

The new alliance may be an attempt by the TPLF to show that it has a broad base of support across the country.

The TPLF tried to form a similarly diverse coalition in the late 1980s, before overthrowing the longtime autocratic ruler Mengistu Hailemariam in 1991.

That coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), continued to rule the country for nearly three decades before a protracted protest movement brought Abiy to power in 2018.

Abiy sent troops to Tigray in November 2020 to overthrow TPLF, promising a quick victory. By the end of June, the rebels had recaptured most of Tigray and expanded to the nearby Afar and Amhara regions.

The escalating conflict has caused concern among the international community. Thousands have been killed and hundreds of thousands forced into starvation, according to the UN

Source : The Daily Sabah newsletter

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