By John Ikani
The Ethiopian army has called on former personnel to rejoin the military to fight the advance of Tigrayan forces, as nine anti-government factions formed a new alliance to push out Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Government.
The alliance was announced by faction leaders in Washington despite calls from African and Western leaders for a national ceasefire, as federal troops battle the northern-based Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and its allies.
Called the United Front of Ethiopian Federalist and Confederalist Forces, the alliance includes the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which has been fighting Abiy’s government for a year in a war that has killed thousands of people and forced more than 2 million more from their homes.
With the rebels threatening to move on to the capital Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian army on Friday called on former personnel to rejoin the military to fight them, state media said.
In the past week, the government and local authorities have also told civilians in the capital to register their weapons and prepare to defend their neighbourhoods.
African and Western nations have called for an immediate ceasefire in Ethiopia after Tigrayan forces from the north said they had moved closer to Addis Ababa this week.
Meanwhile, the United States advised its citizens to leave Ethiopia as soon as possible. “The security environment in Ethiopia is very fluid,” the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.
A conflict between the Government of Ethiopia and forces in its northern Tigray region has thrown the country into turmoil.
Power struggle, an election and a push for political reform are among several factors that led to the crisis.
Fighting has been going on since November 2020, destabilising the populous country in the Horn of Africa, leaving thousands of people dead with 350,000 others living in famine conditions.
Eritrean soldiers are also fighting in Tigray for the Ethiopian Government. All sides have been accused of atrocities.
The war, which has killed thousands of people and forced more than two million from their homes, has intensified in recent weeks.