March 22, 2023

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Ethiopia: The rebel coalition against the government, the Security Council has called for a ceasefire

# In other countries : Nine Ethiopian rebel groups announced on Friday that they would form a coalition against the government of Prime Minister Abi Ahmed, threatening to march on the northern TPLF militant-led “United Front” in Addis Ababa.

Faced with the intensity of the conflict in the north of the country, the United States, Sweden and Norway on Friday called on their compatriots to leave Ethiopia and the UN. The Security Council called for a ceasefire.

In a joint declaration, the organisation’s fifteen member states call for an “end to hostilities and negotiations for a lasting ceasefire” before the “inclusive” dialogue to “resolve the crisis.”

Under the pressure of not being able to provide a unified response to the Ethiopian conflict for a year, they “expressed their deep concern over the escalation and escalation of the military conflict.”

The federal government has been waging a year-long war against Tigre People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) militants who have advanced beyond their strongholds in recent months, especially in the Amhara region.

>>> Read more: Ethiopia: Nine rebel groups have announced an alliance against the government

On Wednesday, they said they had reached Kemisi, 325 kilometers north of the capital, where they joined the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), an armed group of the Oromo ethnic group, in which they have been allied since August.

Both groups did not refuse to march towards the capital to overthrow Abi Ahmed. The government denies any threat to Addis Ababa.

The TPLF and the OLA announced on Friday that they were merging with seven lesser-known organizations of uncertain purpose in various parts of Ethiopia (Campbell, Afar, Somali, Benishangul) or ethnic groups (Agew, Qemant, Sidama). .

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“Publicity Shot”

The TPLF’s representative in Washington, Berhan Capre-Christos, who signed the coalition known as the United Front of Ethiopian Federalist and Confederate Forces, said, “Our aim is to overthrow the regime.”

Ethiopian Attorney General Gedion Timothewos called the coalition a “publicity stunt” and argued that some of these organizations “did not really have a grassroots basis.”

A spokesman for the prime minister said the TPLF’s “misinformation” had exploded with the intention of creating a “false sense of insecurity”, but promised that a “default sense” existed in Addis Ababa.

The impact of this “front” conflict is uncertain.

>>> Read more: Ethiopia: Addis Ababa capture, according to Oromo rebels, “for months, even weeks”

“If they are serious about taking up arms against the government, it is a real problem,” said Abi Ahmed, an ambassador to the AFP who is well aware of security issues, while most of these groups are unaware of their numbers and sources. .

This coalition wants to show that there is support for the TPLF beyond the deck.

The TPLF had already established an alliance with other ethnic and geographical groups in the late 1980s, before the overthrow of the Mengistu Highlemarie in 1991.

This revolutionary democratic front of the Ethiopian people, dominated by the TPLF, then ruled the country for almost 30 years, before an opposition movement that brought Abi Ahmed to power in 2018.

After becoming prime minister, the latter gradually removed the TPLF from federal power.

International calls

After months of tensions, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner sent troops to Digre in November 2020 to remove regional officials from the TPLF, which he accused of attacking military bases.

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On November 28, Abi Ahmed announced the victory. But in June, the Tigrian militants captured most of the area and continued their offensive in the neighboring areas of Afar and Amhara.

The government has recently promised to win this “battle for survival”.

>>> Read more: Ethiopia: The government has declared a state of emergency across the country

Both camps remain deaf to international calls for a ceasefire and talks, which were broadcast Thursday and Friday in the Ethiopian capital by U.S. Ambassador to the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman.

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Defense on Friday called on military retirees to re-engage “to protect the country from a conspiracy to destabilize the country.”

A state of emergency was declared across the country on Tuesday, allowing authorities to unintentionally detain anyone suspected of supporting “terrorist groups” or to suspend media outlets that “directly or indirectly provide moral support” to the TPLF.

Prosecutors told the AFP that thousands of detainees had been arrested since the state of emergency was declared.