Sunday, November 28

Ethiopia: why is France asking its nationals to leave the country?

The situation is worsening in Ethiopia, where a civil war has been raging since November 2020. This Tuesday, November 23, France called on its nationals to leave the country “without delay”.

After more than a year of war between government forces and rebels in the Tigray region to the north, the fighting is approaching the capital Addis Ababa. The French embassy, ​​in view of “the evolution of the military situation”, did not wish to take any risk.

French diplomacy has promised to facilitate the departure of nationals on commercial flights by reserving seats and “if necessary” to charter a charter flight.

France is following in the footsteps of several countries including the United Kingdom and the United States which have urged their citizens to leave the country and evacuated non-essential staff from their embassies.

More than a year of war in Tigray

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent the army to Tigray in early November 2020 to remove the leaders of the Tigray Liberation Front (TPLF), who challenged his authority and whom he accused of attacking 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.

At the end of October, the TPLF claimed responsibility for the capture of two key cities in Amhara, thus drawing closer to the capital. Information denied at the time by the Ethiopian government.

A risk of “implosion” of Ethiopia

The TPLF, which has allied itself with a rebel group very active in the region around the capital, said this week to be in Shewa Robit, 220 km northeast of Addis Ababa. According to diplomats consulted by AFP, some rebel fighters have reached the town of Debre Sina, 180 km from the capital.

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