Thursday, December 9

Africa. France calls on its nationals to leave Ethiopia, in the grip of fighting

France on Tuesday called on its nationals to leave “without delay”. Ethiopia. Fighting is drawing closer to the country’s capital after more than a year of war between government and rebel forces in the north.

The French embassy, ​​which says it has taken this decision in view of “the evolution of the military situation”, adds plans to facilitate the departure of nationals on commercial flights by reserving seats and “if necessary” to charter a charter flight .

Many calls to leave the country

Before France, several countries including the United Kingdom and the United States urged their citizens to leave the country. The latter also evacuated their non-essential personnel. An embassy official told AFP that “voluntary” departures of staff could take place, especially among families.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent the federal army to Tigray in early November 2020 in order to remove the authorities in this region, from the Tigray Liberation Front (TPLF), who challenged his authority and whom he accused of having attacked military bases. Nobel Peace Prize 2019, Abiy Ahmed proclaimed victory three weeks later, after the capture of the regional capital Mekele. But in June, pro-TPLF fighters took over most of the region and continued their offensive in neighboring Amhara and Afar regions.

Tigrayan rebels claim the capture of two towns

At the end of October, the TPLF claimed responsibility for the capture of two key cities in Amhara, thus moving closer to the capital – which the Ethiopian government denied. The TPLF, which has allied with an Oromo rebel group active in the region around the capital, this week claimed to be in Shewa Robit, 220 km northeast of the capital Addis Ababa. The government has not commented on this information. According to diplomats familiar with the security situation, some rebel fighters have reached the locality of Debre Sina, closer to about 30 km from the capital.

In recent weeks, diplomatic efforts by the international community have intensified in an attempt to secure a ceasefire agreement. AU envoy for the Horn of Africa ex-Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo and his US counterpart Jeffrey Feltman visited Ethiopia again on Thursday. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently warned of the risk of Ethiopia “imploding” if no political solution to the conflict is found.

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