Ethiopia PM calls on citizens to take up arms

Ethiopia PM calls on citizens to take up arms
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told citizens to arm themselves with "every weapon". Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, has appealed to citizens to take up arms to block advancing rebel fighters.

The Prime Minister made the call on Facebook after the rebels, from the northern Tigray state, reportedly seized control of more towns in neighbouring Amhara.

The United States has called for a ceasefire in a year-long conflict that has created a humanitarian crisis.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) says its aim is to break a siege of the northern region.

Mr Abiy said in his statement on Sunday that the rebels’ advance was “pushing the country to its demise”.

He urged Ethiopeans to “organise and march through [any] legal manner with every weapon and power… to prevent, reverse and bury the terrorist TPLF”, according to a translation on the Addis Standard news site.

Mr Abiy’s comments coincided with the rebels reportedly capturing the strategic towns of Kombolcha and Dessie in Amhara state, just over 300km north of the country’s capital Addis Ababa.

The Ethiopian government said in a tweet on Monday that the rebels “summarily executed more than 100 youth residents” in the Kombolcha area. The TPLF has not commented and there has been no confirmation of the killings.

It has been difficult to verify claims made by the government and the rebels in the conflict because communications have been restricted.

Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, has expressed alarm over the escalating conflict. In a tweet, he said continued fighting only prolonged the dire humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia.

Thousands of people have been killed in the war, hundreds of thousands are facing famine conditions and millions displaced, the UN says.

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