“As of tomorrow (Tuesday), I will go to the front to lead our armed forces,” Ahmed said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.
Addressing, he added, “Those who want to be Ethiopians for whom history will open its arms, defend the country today. Join us at the front.”
The war that erupted on November 4, 2020 in the Tigray region (northern) between the federal forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front backed by the Oromo Liberation Army, resulted in the deaths of thousands and the displacement of more than two million people.
The Prime Minister’s statement coincides with the assurances of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front to continue its advance towards the capital, noting that it had taken control of the town of Shewa Rubet, located about 220 km from Addis Ababa.
However, the authorities assert at the same time that the rebels’ declared military progress and imminent threat to Addis Ababa are exaggerated.
The prime minister issued his statement following a meeting on the current military situation held by the executive committee of the ruling “Prosperity” party. At the conclusion of the meeting, Defense Minister Abraham Pillay announced that the federal forces would engage in “a different work”, without further details.
The minister said: “We cannot continue like this, which means that there will be change. What happened and what is happening to our people from the atrocities committed by this destructive terrorist and bandit group cannot continue.”
On November 2, the federal government declared a state of emergency for 6 months across the country, and called on the residents of Addis Ababa to organize their ranks and prepare to defend their city in light of growing fears that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front fighters and their allies would advance towards the capital.
Addis Ababa sent its forces to Tigray to overthrow the region’s authorities stemming from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, after the prime minister accused the region’s forces of attacking federal army posts.
In the wake of fierce battles, Ahmed declared victory on November 28, but the fighters of the front soon regained control in June of the greater part of Tigray before advancing towards the neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara.
The US envoy to the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, and his African counterpart, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, are making unremitting efforts in an attempt to reach a ceasefire.