Ethiopia to citizens: Stop Tigray forces ‘once and for all’

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Ethiopia’s government is calling on “all capable Ethiopians” to join the military and stop resurgent forces from the embattled Tigray region “once and for all.”

The statement from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office on Tuesday represents the further crumbling of the unilateral cease-fire the government declared in June as its military retreated from Tigray or the abandonment of the cease-fire altogether. Spokespeople for Abiy’s office and the Tigray emergency task force did not immediately respond to questions.

The new statement also takes aim at some in the international community, blaming them for the “machinations of foreign hands” in the nine-month war that has spilled from Tigray into Ethiopia’s neighboring Amhara and Afar regions. Tigray forces say they want to secure their blockaded region, end the fighting and see the prime minister leave office.

Thousands of people have been killed in the war since November. This week the United Nations said it was “extremely alarmed” by reports that more than 200 people were killed in attacks on displaced people in Afar. Ethiopia’s government has blamed the Tigray forces, whose spokesman Getachew Reda denied it.

Some 300,000 people have now been displaced outside Tigray as the conflict widens.

The new Ethiopian government statement also calls on all Ethiopians to be “the eyes and ears of the country in order to track down and expose spies and agents” of the Tigray forces. Witnesses and lawyers have said thousands of ethnic Tigrayans have already been detained during the conflict for their identity alone.

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