Sun, 21 Nov 2021 - 09:00 GMT
Sun, 21 Nov 2021 - 09:00 GMT
CAIRO – 21 November 2021: The African Union (AU) warned Saturday that the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia would put the continent in peril.
AU Chair and President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Felix Tshisekedi condemned in a message - communicated by his minister of foreign affairs with his Ethiopian counterpart – the use of force in that conflict.
The Congolese and Ethiopian foreign ministers discussed in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, the developments taking place northern Ethiopia, and the possible intermediation of the AU and the Democratic Republic of Congo to reach a settlement.
Airstrikes were launched Monday against the sites occupied by Tigray forces between Wollo province located in Oromia state, and Afar state, as reported by Sada El Balad citing Fana TV.
The raids targeted military training camps, and an arms depot belonging to Tigray forces.
In a similar context, Commander of Oromo Liberation Army Jaal Marroo told AFP that his forces are close to achieving victory, particularly that a number of soldiers in the federal army are defecting.
"We are preparing for another advance and another attack…The government is just trying to gain time and trying to provoke a civil war in the country. That is why they call on people to fight," Marroo added.
The commander had also stated that his forces lie 40 kilometers away from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and that they have not retreated a single inch from the territories they seized.
Marroo noted that the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) does not pose a threat to civilians urging the eviction of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his party "Prosperity" in order to launch the reconciliation process.
The Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) announced on November 14 that its forces lie 270 kilometers away from Addis Ababa, as reported by Al Arabiyah, warning it would enter the city, if Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed does not resign.
It is noted that a number of countries are withdrawing their staff in the country as a result. They also advised expats to leave, if their presence is not necessary. Those include the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon.
The TPLF had allied with other eight armed groups, including ones affiliated to the Oromo ethnicity, to which the incumbent Ethiopian prime minister belongs.
The newly announced alliance against Ethiopia's government said that they're "weeks to months" away from entering Addis Ababa, according to CNN. The allied forces claimed that they are now in control of a town about 160 kilometers (99 miles) from the capital city.
Spokesperson of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) Odaa Tarbii Told CNN that this timeline is an estimate based on the current speed of the push south.
The alliance which was announced is formed of nearly nine rebel forces including the Tigray forces. This alliance seeks a political transition after a year of the disturbing war that raised a lot of concern over the political and humanitarian situation in the country.
The OLA, and other allied groups said that moving on Addis Ababa is not their main objective. Instead, it is calling for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to be removed, and to announce a transitional conference until holding truly democratic election, according to Tarbii statements.
From his part, Abiy Ahmed has been calling on civilians to confront these groups and get weapons to stop them; accordingly, both of Facebook and twitter have deleted the Ethiopian Prime Minster tweets and posts for being ‘hate, violent speech’ and ‘incites for violence’
The Ethiopian Armed forces also called on all physically fit ex-soldiers to register in the army and participate in military operations against the newly-formed alliance.
Tigray forces had captured two towns and have been advancing toward the capital so as now they lie 270 kilometers away from Addis Ababa.
The two towns are Dessie and Kombolcha, and both are located in the Amhara Region housing the largest ethnicity in Ethiopia. According to the Guardian, the former fell on October 31 while the latter was seized on November 1.
The conflict between Tigray and the federal government has been ongoing since November 1, 2020, as a result of the former's objection of the postponement of elections, and the marginalization of politicians affiliated to the TPLF, that used to be an integral part of the consecutive governments for decades.
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths announced Monday that the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (UNCERF) is allocating $25 million "to support lifesaving assistance in Ethiopia."
That brings the total up to $40 million as $15 million have been dedicated by UN-affiliated Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund (EHF), which is specialized in dealing with natural disasters. Griffiths noted that the funds will be used in supporting "aid efforts in the North and drought response in the South." By the North, the international official means Tigray region, where armed conflict is ongoing.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) had indicated earlier that "364 aid trucks have been waiting for authorization to access Tigray since October 18," according to UN News website. It is quoting OCHA's statement as saying, "It is estimated that 80 per cent of essential medication is no longer available in Tigray while most health facilities are not functional due to damage and lack of supplies."
The office added that, "Only 19 of the 59 mobile health and nutrition teams operating at the end of August are still providing services, owing to a lack of supplies and fuel," UN News website reported.
The United Nations (UN) had said earlier that at least nine of its staff remain detained by Ethiopia's federal government in Addis Ababa, and that 70 truckers who were to drive humanitarian aid into the northern Tigray region have also been taken into custody.