Ethiopia PM At 'battlefield' Front To Fight Rebels: State Media
Addis Ababa, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 25th Nov, 2021 ) :Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday reportedly joined the front line where government forces are battling rebels from the Tigray region, prompting US-led international calls for a diplomatic solution and immediate ceasefire to the conflict.
The fighting in the north of Africa's second-most populous country has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands into famine-like conditions.
It was not clear where Abiy, a former radio operator in the military who rose to lieutenant-colonel, had deployed.
State media did not broadcast images of him in the field, and officials have not responded to requests for details about his whereabouts.
Addressing reports of Abiy at the front, the US State Department late Wednesday warned "there is no military solution" to Ethiopia's civil war.
"We urge all parties to refrain from inflammatory and bellicose rhetoric, to use restraint, respect human rights, allow humanitarian access, and protect civilians," a State Department spokesperson said.
Other foreign envoys also have been frantically pushing for a ceasefire, though there have been few signs a breakthrough is coming.
On Wednesday UN chief Antonio Guterres called for a swift end to the fighting, comments made while on a visit to Colombia to mark the fifth anniversary of a peace deal between the government and former FARC rebels.
Abiy's announcement Monday that he would deploy to the front "has inspired many to... join the survival campaign", Fana said Wednesday.
Hundreds of new recruits took part in a ceremony held in their honour Wednesday in the capital's Kolfe district.
As officials corralled sheep and oxen into trucks bound for the north, the recruits broke into patriotic songs and chants.
"When a leader leaves his chair... and his throne it is to rescue his country," Tesfaye Sherefa, a 42-year-old driver, told AFP.
The marathon runner gained political prominence by raising and crossing his arms as he finished the marathon at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro -- a gesture of solidarity with fellow ethnic Oromos killed while protesting abuses committed during nearly three decades of TPLF rule.
Even as it rallies citizens to fight, Abiy's government insists the TPLF's gains have been overstated, criticising what it describes as sensationalist media coverage and alarmist security advisories from Western embassies.
The war has triggered a humanitarian crisis, with accounts of massacres and mass rapes, and on Wednesday the United Nations expressed worry over reports of large-scale displacement from western Tigray, where the US has previously warned of ethnic cleansing.
Several witnesses have told AFP of mass roundups of Tigrayan civilians in western Tigray in recent days.
Amhara forces occupied the fiercely contested area a year ago, with Amhara officials accusing the TPLF of illegally annexing it three decades earlier.
As Amhara civilians have poured in over the past year, Tigrayans have fled in the tens of thousands -- either west into Sudan or east, deeper into Tigray.