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UN to evacuate families of staff in Ethiopia as alarm grows

AFP

clock 3 min read

Ethiopian military parade at a rally organized by local authorities to show support for the Ethiopian National Defense Force at Meskel square in downtown Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 7, 2021.
AP PhotoEthiopian military parade at a rally organized by local authorities to show support for the Ethiopian National Defense Force at Meskel square in downtown Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 7, 2021.

The US envoy spoke of some progress in efforts to reach a diplomatic settlement to end the year-long conflict

International alarm mounted on Tuesday over the escalating war in Ethiopia as Tigrayan rebels claimed to be edging closer to the capital Addis Ababa and more foreign citizens were told to leave.

US special envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman spoke of some progress in efforts to reach a diplomatic settlement to end the brutal year-long conflict.

However, he warned it risked being jeopardized by "alarming developments" on the ground.

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The United Nations said it ordered the immediate evacuation of family members of international staff while France became the latest Western government to tell its citizens to leave Ethiopia.

This week the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) claimed it took a town just 135 miles from the capital, although battlefield claims are hard to verify due to a communications blackout.  

On Monday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed vowed he would head to the battlefront to lead his soldiers in what the government described as an "existential war" in Africa's second-most populous nation.

"We are now in the final stages of saving Ethiopia," said Abiy, who only two years ago was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for securing a peace deal with neighboring Eritrea.

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Thousands of people have been killed since fighting erupted in November 2020, triggering a desperate humanitarian crisis that the UN says has left hundreds of thousands on the brink of famine and displaced more than two million.

The latest developments cast doubt on hopes of an end to the conflict, which has stoked fears it could sow wider instability in the Horn of Africa region.