Ethiopia: Is PM Abiy Ahmed plotting to go into exile?
NAIROBI, Kenya - Unconfirmed reports from Addis Ababa indicate that embattled Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed could be considering offers to go to exile even as the war in the Horn of Africa rages on, leaving thousands of people dead and others displaced.
Already, the Tigray Defense Forces [TDF], which has been at loggerheads with the federal government, has made considerate progress, having managed to secure key strategic towns within Amhara and Afar regions in northern Ethiopia.
So vicious has been the war that Oromo Liberation Front [OLF], is said to have backed TDF, something which will deal a blow to Abiy Ahmed's administration. The OLF hails from the Oromia region where PM Abiy Ahmed was born.
Rashid Abdi, an analyst on the Horn of Africa affairs, claimed diplomatic sources had revealed to him that Ahmed is considering options of going to exile. "Pressure mounting on Abiy to go into exile. He is said to be considering the offers," he noted.
While Garowe Online cannot verify these latest reports, there is, however, evidence that several nationals and diplomats in Addis Ababa have started leaving the country. If confirmed, the move could be a big victory to TDF, which has been fighting against Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] for a year.
Getachew Reda, the spokesperson of TDF, confirmed recently to the BBC that "our aim is to have a grand match to Addis Ababa". The spokesperson, however, denied claims that foreign nations were supporting the outfit, which is linked to former Tigrayan rulers; Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF].
The US, which has since issued a travel advisory to its citizens on traveling to Ethiopia, warned TDF against taking over Addis Ababa. Multiple sources from the Horn of Africa nation indicate that the federal army has been weakened significantly.
Abdi, who has been vocal in the Tigray conflict, noted that the turmoil could be put to rest should Kenya chip in immediately. Nairobi sits in the strategic United Nations Security Council [UNSC] and AU Peace Security Council.
"Kenya is in UNSC, AU PSC has strategic ties with Ethiopia. It is the only Horn anchor state with diplomatic heft to help influence and shape post-Abiy dispensation. OLA and TDF do not consider Kenya a 'hostile power',"he notes. "Kenya should appoint a special envoy to help the transition."
According to his projection, by this time tomorrow [November 4th], "Addis most likely will be under the control of OLA and TDF." "4 November is important. It will be the one-year anniversary of the Tigray war."
The war started a year ago when TDF attacked Northern Command, triggering a conflict between Mekelle and Addis Ababa. Despite the federal army making gains, the steam seemingly lost in July when TDF regrouped and started attacking neighboring states.
Further, reports indicate that flights from Addis Ababa are reported fully booked as diplomats and families of government officials flee an imminent attack on the Ethiopian capital by joining Tigray and Oromo forces. The two forces are making advances towards the capital, Addis Ababa.
Mehari Taddele Maru, a public intellectual, said the declaration of the state of emergency will "further militarize the country and licenses state actors to intensify and legitimize more atrocities".
"The diplomatic corps based in Addis Ababa need to offer alternative forms of protection, including, as practiced by most countries, temporary refuge within their premises to those seeking protection from threats to their lives," he noted.
The PM, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for fostering democratization in Ethiopia and ending the conflict with Eritrea, has already asked civilians to take arms and help the federal army to prevent TDF from capturing Addis Ababa.
"This is a time for trial and error. Everyone will be tested until the trial is over. We must all adapt our lives to the time of trial until our problems are solved quickly and we return to normal life," he said in a defiant tweet.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed further said that the State of Emergency is aimed at overcoming circumstances the country is facing now.
“We have to lead our lives in conformity with the situation so that our problems can be resolved soon” the Prime Minister underlined.