Sunday, December 5, 2021

Urgent effort to pacify Ethiopia reaches one-year mark of war

NAIROBI, Kenya — Urgent new efforts to quell Ethiopia’s escalating war emerged on Thursday when a US special envoy arrived and the president of neighboring Kenya called for an immediate ceasefire as the country continues a year of conflict.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement, “The lack of communication has been particularly troubling, as the war has killed thousands and displaced millions since November 2020, threatening to surround the capital, Addis Ababa. Is. Rival 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.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s spokesman, Billin Seyum, did not respond on Thursday when asked if he would meet US special envoy Jeffrey Feltman, who this week insisted there are “many ways to start a prudent dialogue.” “

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that he had spoken to Abiy to “offer my good terms to create conditions for dialogue so that the fighting stops.” The Ugandan president called a meeting of East African leaders, and the EU warned of “fragmentation and widespread armed conflict”.

But so far discussions have been unsuccessful. Last week a congressional aide told The Associated Press that “there have been talks with officials, but when it gets to the abi level and the senior (tigre force) level, the demands are widespread, and abi doesn’t want to talk.” Is. .”

Instead, the prime minister has again called for 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 by Abi with that language, saying it violated policies against inciting violence. This was a rare action against a head of state or government.

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 described the ethnic-based militias as “so 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.”

Tigre forces spokesman Getachev Reda claimed in a tweet late Wednesday that they “joined hands” with another armed group, the Oromo Liberation Army, to seize the city of Chemis even closer to the capital.

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

A security source confirmed that the two armed groups were allied to control Chemis and 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.

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There has been abuse from all sides in the war, a UN human rights investigation said on Wednesday, while millions of people in the government-blocked Tigre region are no longer able to receive humanitarian aid. The United Nations says Tigre has received no aid since Ethiopian military airstrikes resumed on October 18.

Meanwhile, insecurity comes as Tigre forces have pushed south through the neighboring Amhara region, disrupting aid delivery to hundreds of thousands of starving people.

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

“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 sweeping powers of emergency taking custody of the situation, ethnic Tigrians in the capital told the AP they were hiding in their homes as authorities conducted house-to-house searches and people took to the streets to check identity cards. Roka, which should now be carried by all. .

A lawyer, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, estimated that thousands of people were 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 Tigreyan, Yared, said his brother, a businessman, was taken into custody on Monday, and when he went to the police station he saw dozens of other tigers.

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

“They go through your phone and if you have some material about the Tigre War that is suggesting supporting the war, they will 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.”

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