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No More Diplomacy: Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed Vows to Lead Army from Battlefront

No More Diplomacy: Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed Vows to Lead Army from Battlefront
folder_openAfrica... access_time2 months ago
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By Staff, Agencies

In a new dramatic step, Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared that he will lead his country’s army “from the battlefront” starting Tuesday, as the year-long conflict moves closer to the capital Addis Ababa.

Tens of thousands of people are estimated to have been killed as Ethiopian and allied forces fight against forces from the country’s northern Tigray region, who dominated the national government before Ahmed took office.

“Starting tomorrow, I will mobilize to the front to lead the defense forces,” Abiy said in a statement posted on Twitter late on Monday.

He further stated: “Those who want to be among the Ethiopian children who will be hailed by history, rise up for your country today. Let’s meet at the battlefront.”

The statement by the 45-year-old prime minister, a former soldier, did not say where exactly he will go Tuesday.

Abiy’s comments came as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front [TPLF] rebel group continued to press towards Addis Ababa, claiming control of the town of Shewa Robit, just 220km northeast of the capital by road.

It also followed a meeting of the ruling Prosperity Party’s executive committee to discuss the war.

Defense Minister Abraham Belay told state-affiliated media after the meeting that security forces would embark on a “different action”, without providing details.

“There will be change,” Belay said. “What happened and is happening to our people, the abuses being meted out by this destructive, terrorist, robber group, can’t continue.”