Ethiopia’s Prime Minister has declared a state of emergency in the ethnically-diverse region of Tigray as government forces gain ground against what is largely an armed insurgency for independence
Ethiopia’s state of emergency was announced after the country’s military forces, led by Tigrayan ethnic group, gained ground in the region.
The unrest in Tigray, which began a year ago, has now expanded south (Picture: AP; Getty)
As opposing Tigray troops gain momentum, Ethiopia has declared a nationwide state of emergency and warned inhabitants to prepare to protect the city.
The government will be able to impose a curfew, interrupt transportation, and jail anybody suspected of having ties to a terrorist organization indefinitely under this policy.
Local governments may be abolished in certain places, and a military authority might be created, with every citizen above the age of military duty being recruited to fight.
‘Our country’s survival, sovereignty, and unity are under great jeopardy. And we won’t be able to eliminate this threat using traditional law enforcement methods and processes,’ Justice Minister Gedion Timothewos said during a press conference.
It comes about a year after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched an attack against regional troops in Tigray, igniting a long-running war that has claimed thousands of lives.
According to a UN assessment issued today, all parties in the conflict have violated international human rights, with some of these violations perhaps amounting to crimes against humanity.
Ethiopia has proclaimed a state of emergency throughout the country. (Photo courtesy of AP)
Unlawful murders and extrajudicial executions, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, violations against refugees, and forced displacement of people are all detailed in the study.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the violence had been characterised by terrible cruelty and urged for a long-term peace.
In a news conference on Wednesday, he added, “Civilians in Tigray have been exposed to cruel brutality and suffering.”
‘It is critical that all sides pay attention to the repeated appeals to halt the conflict,’ Bachelet said.
Due to security and other issues, UN officials were unable to visit some of the war’s bloodiest areas, notably the city of Axum.
Prime Minister Ahmed had earlier asked civilians in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, to pick up guns in order to protect themselves against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
The country’s security office advised anybody who owns a weapon to register it immediately, and warned that inspections of houses and businesses will be conducted to maintain the city’s tranquility.
The TPLF claims to have taken control of many towns in recent days and has said that it is contemplating moving on Addis Ababa, which is some 380 kilometers (235 miles) south of its advanced positions.
Since the crisis started a year ago, there have been many abuses of human rights (Picture: AP)
Foreign nationals have been warned to leave the country, with the United States saying that security has’significantly worsened.’
The declaration came as US Vice President Joe Biden accused the government of “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” and announced that Ethiopia would be removed from a key US trade program, paving the way for more economic sanctions in the wake of the conflict’s failure to end.
On Monday, a fresh gathering of ethnic Tigrayans was witnessed in the city.
Tigray troops claim they are forcing Ethiopia’s government to remove a months-long siege on their six-million-strong area, which has been shut off from basic amenities and refused humanitarian food and medical help.
A senior official with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) told The Associated Press on Tuesday that this is “probably the most severe humanitarian obstacle in the world.”
‘We’re witnessing a campaign of systematic, bureaucratic blockage obstructing assistance into areas taken by (Tigray troops),’ the source added, referring to not just Tigray but also territories in the neighboring Amhara and Afar provinces presently held by Tigray militants.
In recent weeks, the TPFL has gained popularity and has threatened to march on the capital. (Photo courtesy of AP)
After retaking most of Tigray in June, the fighters went into these areas, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and exacerbating the catastrophe.
The Tigray troops claim they are now collaborating with the Oromo Liberation Army, with whom they formed an alliance earlier this year.
The conflict might spread to Addis Ababa’s neighboring Oromo region. Mr Abiy was formerly lauded as the country’s first Oromo prime minister, but the imprisonment of vocal Oromo leaders has sparked anger.
Prime Minister Abiy said the military action was authorized on November 4 last year in response to an attack on a military installation in the area that housed government forces.
The tensions between Mr Abiy’s administration and leaders of the TPLF, Tigray’s leading political party, had been building for months.
The TPLF was then designated as a terrorist organization, and any peace discussions with them were ruled off.
The government’s latest attack, which included airstrikes, has failed to prevent the rebels’ territorial advances in recent weeks.
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Ethiopia: State of emergency as Tigray forces gain ground. The government has declared a state of emergency in the country after rebels from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) gained ground and took control of key areas near the capital city, Addis Ababa. Reference: ethiopia state emergency rebels advance toward.
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