Ethiopian PM on battlefront, says state-affiliated TV

A state-affiliated Ethiopian TV channel has broadcast footage purporting to show the country’s Nobel peace prize-winning prime minister on the battlefront of the country’s year-long war against Tigray forces, four days after he announced he would direct the army from there.

Wearing military uniform, Abiy Ahmed claimed in the footage that the war was “being conducted with a high level of success” and referred to locations on the border between the country’s Amhara and Afar regions, which neighbour Tigray.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the war that erupted in November 2020 between Ethiopian forces and the Tigray forces who had long dominated the national government before Abiy took office in 2018. 政府 declared a state of emergency this month as Tigray fighters moved closer to the capital, Addis Ababa, and the US and others have told their citizens to leave immediately.

Foreign media have been barred from Tigray for much of the war, with communications links severed.

Late on Thursday, Ethiopia’s government issued an order seeking to restrict media reporting of the war, forbidding the sharing of non-official information on “military-related movements, battlefront results and situations”.

The statement, which applies to everyone in the country, also says that “supporting the [rival Tigray forces] directly or indirectly in the name of freedom speech should cease immediately”. It strongly warned against calls for the formation of a transitional government. Security forces would “take measures” against violators, と言いました, 詳述せずに.

Mediation efforts by the US and the African Union in pursuit of a ceasefire and talks have made little apparent progress. The war in which witnesses have described gang-rapes, mass expulsions and deliberate starvation, has included atrocities committed by all sides, though Ethiopian forces and their allies from neighbouring Eritrea have been blamed for most of the abuses.

The war has created a huge humanitarian crisis in Africa’s second most populous country, と 6 million people in the Tigray region under a months-long government blockade. Many in the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions remain beyond the reach of aid as the Tigray forces fight their way towards Ethiopia’s capital.

They say they are pressing the government to lift the blockade but also have warned they want Abiy out, by force if needed.

"今日, 9.4 million people are living their worst nightmare” in northern Ethiopia, World Food Programme spokesman Tomson Phiri told reporters in Geneva on Friday.

The United Nations agency also said 35 aid trucks had arrived in the Tigray capital, the first such aid to arrive in the region since 18 10月, when Ethiopia’s military resumed airstrikes against the regional capital. A hundred aid trucks are needed each day to meet the urgent needs in Tigray, 国連は言った.

Abiy was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2019 after announcing sweeping political reforms to the repressive government and restoring relations with neighbouring Eritrea after years of conflict. His government has since allowed Eritrean soldiers to enter Tigray and fight alongside Ethiopian ones.