The US urges its citizens to leave the country at war

(CNN) — “The security environment in Ethiopia is very fluid. We advise US citizens in Ethiopia to leave the country as soon as possible,” the US Embassy in Ethiopia said in a statement on Friday.

“US citizens wishing to leave Ethiopia currently have multiple options through commercial flights from Bole International Airport. If you are having difficulty getting a flight or need financial assistance to return to the United States, please contact to receive guidance,” the statement says.

The Embassy also shared contact information for airlines operating from Bole International Airport on its website.

The crisis in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian People’s House of Representatives on Thursday approved a six-month state of emergency that was announced earlier this week. This after forces from the northern region of Tigray said they had gained territory and were marching on the capital Addis Ababa. The state of emergency allows for the recruitment of citizens who own firearms and are of military age, which in Ethiopia is 18.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Sunday urged citizens to take up arms to defend themselves from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, against whom Abiy ordered a military offensive a year ago.

Meanwhile, the US government has said Ethiopia will lose access to a lucrative US trade program due to human rights violations unless it takes steps to end the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis by early 2022. .

Ethiopia is in the midst of a civil war that many reports bear the hallmarks of genocide and has the potential to destabilize the broader Horn of Africa region.

Ethiopian Prime Minister declares state of emergency 2:29

The UN has condemned possible “war crimes” uncovered in an investigation into Tigray’s year-long war, with a report released Wednesday finding violations committed by all parties to the conflict. There have been repeated calls from the United States and the international community for parties to the conflict, including PM Abiy’s government and the TPLF, to end hostilities.

In November 2020, Abiy ordered a military offensive in the northern Tigray region, promising that the conflict would be resolved quickly. A year later, the fighting has left thousands dead, displaced more than two million people from their homes, fueled famine and spawned a wave of atrocities.

Ethiopia was facing significant economic, ethnic and political challenges long before a dispute between Abiy and the region’s former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), erupted into unrest.

But now, with hostilities escalating elsewhere in Ethiopia, fears are growing that fighting in Tigray could trigger a wider crisis with the potential to disintegrate Africa’s second most populous country.

Ethiopia used flag carrier to move weapons 4:21

How it all started?

The Tigray conflict has its roots in tensions that go back several generations in Ethiopia’s past.

The country is made up of 10 regions – and two cities – that enjoy a great deal of autonomy, including the ability to have regional police and militia. Due to a previous conflict with neighboring Eritrea, there are also large numbers of federal troops in Tigray. Regional governments are largely divided along entrenched ethnic lines.

Before Abiy Ahmed came to power, the TPLF had ruled Ethiopia with an iron fist for decades, overseeing a period of stability and economic growth at the cost of basic civil and political rights. This authoritarian rule sparked a popular uprising that ultimately forced Abiy’s predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, to resign.

In 2018, Abiy was appointed by the ruling class to quell tensions and bring about change, without endangering the old political order. But almost as soon as he became prime minister, Abiy announced the reorganization of the ruling coalition the TPLF had founded – the four-party Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Front (EPRDF) – into a single new Prosperity Party, ostracizing the TPLF in the process.

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