We will crush traitors, Abiy Ahmed says amid Tigray war
ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopians should be courageous and face their enemies without fear, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said, noting that the country will not give room to traitors who are hell-bent to frustrate efforts to restore order and unity in the Horn of Africa nation.
According to the Nobel Peace Prize winner for 2019, the country is facing challenges from "traitors from within and outsiders" but he didn't reveal identities. This is the first time Abiy Ahmed seemingly blamed unknown individuals for the country's challenges.
At an inaugural ceremony of the Tana Beles Sugar factory on Sunday, the PM said ‘two enemies of the country’s prosperity’ were identified. His statement comes amid ethnic cleansing in the country as well as the Tigray war that has lead to backlash from among international actors.
Right now, Abiy's government is under pressure to withdraw troops from the Tigray region where they are accused of masterminding genocide. Both Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF], Eritrea troops, and those from Amhara regional forces have been in Tigray in the pretext of pursuing Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF] fighters.
To date, various correspondences indicate, thousands of people have been raped, tortured, or killed by the military in the separatist state. The US and UK are among key partners who have demanded the withdrawal of troops from the region.
But Abiy's 'traitor" statement was made in reference to the battle against Italians in the 1930s that saw a number of people betray the country. He also talked about outsiders who are working to inhibit Ethiopia from standing on its feet.
Perhaps in reference to pressure from Egypt and Sudan on the completion of the Grand Renaissance Dam [GERD], the Prime Minister insisted that the mega project is important to the country owing to the fact that it will help run several industries.
“The construction of the GERD plays an invaluable role to both Egypt and Sudan.” he said, adding “They too will benefit from it when we complete it.” The PM mentioned a 10-year long development plan. “We started a 10 years long journey of prosperity, planning to finish what we started and begin what we haven’t started,” he said.
The PM’s remarks came two weeks after the United States announced visa restrictions for Ethiopian and Eritrean officials who are responsible for or complicit in, undermining the resolution of the crisis in the Tigray region. It is remembered that the EU canceled the deployment of its planned electoral observation mission to Ethiopia early in May.
There have been also ethnic clashes in Ethiopia since he took over with his Oromo backyard badly affected along with the Amhara region. Many pundits have blamed the clashes on sweeping democratic reforms that now allow people to express themselves freely in the country.
But it's the Tigray crisis that threatens to erode his gains in the last couple of years given the international pressure that has continued to pile for overtime. Abiy Ahmed has in some quarters labeled a "dictator in making" within the Horn of Africa.