Ethiopia’s capital Addis-Ababa under threat as Tigray rebels close in

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The dreaded Tigray rebels

Ethiopia’s capital Addis-Ababa under threat as Tigray rebels close in

Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis-Ababa is currently under threat of falling to Tigray rebels who are on a roll and determined to advance further to the city any moment.

Few could have imagined it would come to this because when the civil war began almost a year ago to the day, Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s prime minister, promised a swift military operation to bring to heel the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (tplf), the ruling party of the rebellious Tigray region.

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The goal, he said, was to bring its leaders to justice for attacking a base that housed federal troops, according to The Economist.

In less than a month, federal Ethiopian forces, backed by paramilitaries from the Amhara region as well as troops from Eritrea, to the north, had captured almost all of Tigray, including Mekelle, its capital. The tplf leaders had disappeared into the mountains and Abiy declared victory.

Since then the tplf has staged such a dramatic comeback that it may now be poised to launch an assault on Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital and seat of the African Union.

The tplf’s leaders, who controlled the central government for almost 30 years until they were ousted after massive protests ushered Abiy into power in 2018, claim they are advancing south at a speed reminiscent of the last time they captured the city, as a battle hardened band of guerrillas three decades ago.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Prime Minister declared a nationwide state of emergency after the rebel groups claimed they had captured a series of strategic towns in the country’s Amhara region, bringing them closer to the capital, Addis Ababa.

The new measures, which the government said were needed to stave off “imminent threats against the existence of the nation”, grant the authorities sweeping powers to impose curfews, revoke media licences and arrest individuals without a warrant if they are suspected of aiding terrorist groups.

The Africa Report reports that the emergency measures are due to be in place for six months but can be terminated by the federal parliament before then.

The announcement came after the city administration of Addis Ababa urged residents to organise in defence of the capital and ordered them to register firearms with the police.

The announcement was sequel to the order by the city administration of Addis-Ababa for residents to organize themselves in defense of the capital.

The city administration had also ordered them to register firearms with the police and added that searches would be carried out at private homes.

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