Saturday, December 4, 2021

Ethiopia compares Tigre forces to ‘rat’, war marks 1 year

NAROBI, Kenya (NWN) — Ethiopia’s government marked a year of war on Thursday in response to international alarm about hate speech, comparing rival Tigre forces to “a rat that wanders away from its hole” Ki and said that the country is close to “bury the evil forces.”

The State Communications Service’s statement, posted on social media and confirmed by a government spokesman, comes amid urgent new efforts to quell the escalating war. As a US special envoy arrived and the president of neighboring Kenya and others called for an immediate ceasefire.

State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that we are “speaking as strictly as we can” urging US citizens to leave the country.

The war that has killed thousands and displaced millions since November 2020 has threatened to engulf Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. Tigre forces have captured major cities in recent days and joined with another armed group, prompting the government of Africa’s second most populous country to declare a national emergency with broad deterrence powers.

US Special Envoy Jeffrey Feltman, who insisted this week that there are “many ways to start prudent talks” toward peace, met with Ethiopia’s deputy prime minister and defense and finance ministers on Thursday, and his visit Continuing on Friday.

Attempts to engage Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, on peace talks have failed. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he spoke with Abiy on Wednesday, “to offer my good offices to create conditions for talks so that the fighting stops.”

The UN Security Council has scheduled an open meeting on Friday afternoon after closed consultations on escalating violence in Ethiopia at the request of Ireland, Kenya, Niger, Tunisia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Council members are considering a press statement calling for an expansion and rapid end of military conflicts, an end to hate speech and unrestricted access to the Tigre region to tackle the world’s worst hunger crisis in a decade. The Associated Press.

But last week a congressional aide told The Associated Press, “There have been talks with officials, but when it gets to the abi level and the senior (tigre force) level, the demands are broad, and abi not to speak.” wants.”

Instead, the prime minister urged citizens to rise up and “bury” the Tigre forces, which dominated the national government for a long time before coming to power. On Wednesday, Facebook said it had removed a post With that language by Abi, saying it violated policies against inciting violence. This was a rare action against a head of state or government.

The government’s statement on Thursday accused Facebook not only of showing its “true colours” but also of the media, humanitarian groups and others allegedly “working hand in hand with the enemy to propagate its false narrative.”

But the Ethiopian government aimed its harshest language at the Tigre forces. “TPLF and its puppets are being surrounded by our forces. As the saying goes, ‘a rat that wanders away from its hole is close to death,'” the statement said, referring to the Tigre People’s Liberation Front.

The UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Elise Wairimu Nderitu, said in an online program on Thursday that dehumanizing speech in Ethiopia is “a matter of great concern”, and warned that the outbreak of war across borders and “utterly intolerable”. The risk of becoming something exists.” He warned that ethnic-based militias are “very dangerous in this context.”

Kenya stepped up security along its borders amid fears of a wave of fleeing Ethiopians in what was to be one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, while its foreign ministry said statements that incited conflict to civilians were “distant”. should be done.” The Ugandan president called a meeting of East African leaders, and the EU warned of “fragmentation and widespread armed conflict”.

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Tigre forces spokesman Getachev Reda said the fighters “joined hands” with another armed group, the Oromo Liberation Army, to capture the city of Chemis even closer to the capital.

“The joint operation will continue in the coming days and weeks,” he tweeted.

A security source confirmed the claim and said that Tigre forces were moving east as well as south towards the capital. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

There has been abuse by all sides in the war, a United Nations human rights investigation said on Wednesday, while millions of people in the Tigre region blocked by the government are cut off from the world. The United Nations says no humanitarian aid has arrived in Tigre since Ethiopian military airstrikes resumed on October 18, and that 80% of essential medicines are no longer available.

Tigre forces say they are pressuring the government to end the blockade, but spreading insecurity pushes them south through the neighboring Amhara region, disrupting aid delivery to hundreds of thousands of starving people. Is.

A university employee, who had fled the Amhara town of Voldia before the arrival of Tigre forces weeks earlier, told friends to call the outside world with reports of low food supplies and people drinking from rivers on nearby hills. While climbing, the power was cut. There is no aid in the occupied territories, Alemayehu said, giving only his first name for his own safety.

“I want the war to end before I go to the capital, it’s my prayer to God,” he said, adding that he opposes Tigre fighters.

With government statements and a new state of emergency, ethnic Tigrians in the capital told the NWN that they were hiding in their homes as authorities conducted house-to-house searches and stopped people on the streets to check identity cards, which Everyone should be now. carry.

A lawyer, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, estimated that thousands of people have been detained this week, citing conversations with “many people from all four corners of the city.” He said that Tigris lawyers like him were powerless to help because of their ethnicity.

“Our only hope is now (Tigre Forces),” said Rachel, a young woman whose husband was detained on Tuesday while going to work as a businessman, but has not been charged. “To be honest, they can’t save us. I’ve already given my life, but if our families can be saved, I think that’s enough.

Another tiger, Yared, said his brother, a businessman, was detained on Monday, and when he went to the police station, he saw dozens of other tigers.

“It’s crazy, my friends in Addis, non-Tigreyans, are calling me and asking me not to leave the house,” Yared said.

“They go through your phone, and if you have some material about the Tigre War that is suggesting supporting the war, they’ll take you into custody,” he said. “The last four days have been the worst ever, the extent to which they are detaining people, it is just terrifying. We no longer feel safe in our homes.”


Matthew Lee in Washington and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed.


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