The Ethiopian government marked the one-year anniversary of fighting between its forces and rebels in the northern Tigre region, suggesting that its forces were close to victory.
Amid urgent global appeals for a ceasefire to stem the escalating violence, the government said in a statement on Facebook that the Tigre People’s Liberation Front “and its puppets are being besieged by our military” and “a rat that is far from its hole”. wanders “near death.”
“This is not a country that crumbles under foreign propaganda!” Statement added. “We are fighting an existential war!”
However, Tigrian forces maintain that they are advancing on the capital, Addis Ababa, and this could collapse in months or even weeks.
In recent weeks, Oromo regional forces have joined Tigreyan forces in their fight against the central government, making what both groups claim is significant progress.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed vowed that his government would remain in place.
Abiy’s spokesman, Billin Seyum, did not respond when asked whether Abiy would meet with US Horn of Africa special envoy Jeffrey Feltman, who was due to arrive in Ethiopia on Thursday for a two-day visit amid growing concerns over the violence.
“Ethiopia will not collapse. Ethiopia will prosper,” Abi said in Addis Ababa on Wednesday. “Ethiopia will forever exist with the honor of defeating all who tested it through the blood and bones of its children.”
The Ethiopian government on Wednesday declared a six-month state of emergency and called on residents to protect their neighborhoods when rebels arrive in the capital.
Justice Minister Gedion Timothevos said during a state media briefing, “Our country is facing a serious threat to its existence, sovereignty and unity. And we cannot address this threat through common law enforcement systems and procedures.” Can.”
Tigre region leader Debreshan Gebremichael blamed the Ethiopian government and its allies for suffering over the past year.
“The warlords decided to continue the war, and we entered this war because the only option we had was to destroy our enemies by force,” Gebremichael said.
State Department spokesman Ned Price called on all warring sides to end the fighting and protect the lives and rights of civilians. He said the State Department has now updated its travel advisory for Ethiopia to Level 4.
“What this means is that we are advising US citizens: do not travel to Ethiopia,” Price said. “We are recommending that US citizens in Ethiopia consider departing now using available commercial options.”
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said the year-long conflict was marked by “extreme brutality”.
“We have reasonable grounds to believe that during this period, all parties to the Tigre conflict have committed violations of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law,” Bachelet said during a press briefing on Wednesday. “Some of it may be war crimes and crimes against humanity. Citizens in Tigre have been subjected to brutal violence and suffering.”
A joint report by the UN Human Rights Office and the government-produced Ethiopian Human Rights Commission found that sexual violence in the conflict has been rampant, detailing reports of gang rapes by various parties against women and girls, but not men. And against the boys too.
According to the United Nations, the annual conflict has famined nearly 400,000 people in the Tigre region, killed thousands of civilians and forced more than 2.5 million people to flee their homes in the north.
Some information in this report has been received from Reuters.