Thursday, December 9, 2021

Tigray, other groups unite against Ethiopia’s leader

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Ethiopian Tigraya forces on Friday teamed up with other armed and opposition groups across the country in an alliance against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to bring about a political transition after a year of devastating war, and they left the opportunity open. departure by force.

“There is no limit for us,” Gebrechristos, a former foreign minister and Tigray official, told reporters in Washington, DC. “We will definitely have a change in Ethiopia before Ethiopia explodes.”

The alliance includes the Tygrai forces, which fight the Ethiopian and Allied forces, as well as the Oromo Liberation Army, which fights alongside the Tygrai forces and seven other groups.

Tigre militants are closing in on the capital, Addis Ababa, and on Friday, Ethiopia urged military veterans to join what is now called an “existential war”, according to the State Department.

The US Embassy urges citizens to leave Ethiopia “as soon as possible.”

The opposition alliance is formed when US Special Envoy Jeffrey Feltman is in the Ethiopian capital, meeting with senior government officials amid calls for an immediate ceasefire and talks to end a war that has left thousands dead since November 2020. deputy prime minister and ministers of defense and finance on Thursday. It is unclear whether Feltman will meet with the prime minister, who met with UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths on Friday about the rapidly escalating crisis.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, in a statement, again called for a ceasefire and negotiation, and called on the Tigray and Oromo Liberation Army forces to “immediately stop the current offensive against Addis Ababa.” He also called on the Ethiopian government to end its military campaign, including airstrikes in Tigray and the mobilization of ethnic militias.

Ethiopia’s new United Front of Federalist Forces seeks to “establish an interim agreement in Ethiopia” so that the prime minister can leave as soon as possible, organizer Johannes Abraha, who is a member of the Tigray group, told the Associated Press. “The next step, of course, will be to start meeting and communicating with countries, diplomats and international actors in Ethiopia and abroad.”

He said the new alliance is both political and military. He added that he had no contact with the Ethiopian government.

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A spokesman for the Oromo Odaa Tarbia Liberation Army said the possibility of expelling the prime minister would depend on the Ethiopian government and developments in the coming weeks. “Of course we prefer the transition to be peaceful and orderly with the removal of Abiy,” he said.

“Our goal is to be as inclusive as possible. We know this transition requires all stakeholders, ”he added. But as for the members of the Prime Minister’s Prosperity Party, “there has to be a process. Many members will have to be investigated, possibly held accountable for war crimes.

The Ethiopian government called the alliance “a publicity stunt, arguing that some of the participating groups” are not really organizations with any kind of support. ” It also argued that life in the capital was “normal” and rejected any notion of a siege.

Prime Minister’s spokesman Billen Seyum reached out to the alliance when she tweeted that “any deviating from the democratic process that Ethiopia embarked on cannot be supporters of democratization,” noting that Abiy opened up political space after taking office in 2018 year. His reforms included welcoming some opposition groups home from exile.

An OLA spokesperson, responding to the tweet, noted that some of the people who returned to Ethiopia were later imprisoned or under house arrest.

“A lot of goodwill has been lost over the past three years,” he said.

Other groups in the alliance include Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front, Agau Democratic Movement, Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement, Gambella People’s Liberation Army, Kimant Global People’s Law and Justice Movement / Kimant Democratic Party, Sidam National Liberation Front and Somali State Resistance.

It is unclear if all groups are armed. But there is interest in defending the 1995 constitution, which enshrines ethnic federalism and includes the right to self-determination.

According to the constitution, critics accuse regional leaders of upholding the rights of most ethnic groups at the expense of minorities.

Abiy preached national unity and transformed the former ruling coalition of ethnic parties into a single Prosperity Party, but the Tigray leaders, who had long dominated the coalition, abandoned this, exacerbating the tensions that led to the war.

This was announced by a merchant from Washington.

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