Ethiopian PM urges civilians to join armed forces as war rages

The Ethiopian prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has issued a call for all eligible civilians to join the armed forces as fighting rages in multiple regions of Africa’s second-most populous nation.

“Now is the right time for all capable Ethiopians who are of age to join the defence forces, special forces and militias and show your patriotism,” Abiy’s office said in a statement released less than two months after he declared a unilateral ceasefire against Tigrayan rebels.

Northern Ethiopia has been wracked by fighting since last November, when Abiy sent troops to topple the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), then the ruling party of the Tigray region.

The move came in response to TPLF attacks on federal army camps, said Abiy, winner of the 2019 Nobel peace prize, and has triggered a deepening humanitarian crisis in Tigray, 在哪里 400,000 people are facing famine-like conditions, 根据联合国.

Although Abiy promised a swift victory, the war took a turn in June when Tigrayan forces recaptured the regional capital, Mekelle, and the Ethiopian army largely withdrew.

Since then the TPLF has pushed east into neighbouring Afar and south into the Amhara region.

The TPLF has repeatedly said it does not have designs on holding territory in Amhara and Afar and is instead focused on facilitating aid access and preventing pro-government forces from regrouping.

Abiy’s government, 同时, has said a unilateral ceasefire it announced in late June was intended to allow aid deliveries, and that the TPLF’s subsequent offensive undermined that effort.