Ethiopia’s PM has gone to the battlefront: State-affiliated media

Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday vowed to lead his country’s army ‘from the battlefront’ after Tigray rebels threatened to march on Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has gone to direct the war effort from the front lines, state-affiliated media reported.

Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen Hassen will take charge of routine government business in Abiy’s absence, Fana news outlet said on Wednesday.

Government spokesman Legesse Tulu detailed the transfer of some routine duties in a news conference, the report from Fana said.

The development comes a day after Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister said he will lead his country’s army “from the battlefront” in a dramatic new step as the year-long conflict moves closer to the capital, Addis Ababa.

Tens of thousands of people are estimated to have been killed and hundreds of thousands pushed into famine conditions since November last year when the prime minister ordered a military offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which dominated the central government for decades before Abiy took office in 2018.

The Tigrayan forces have continued to press towards Addis Ababa, claiming control of the town of Shewa Robit, just 220km (136 miles) northeast of the capital by road.

Much of northern Ethiopia is under a communications blackout and access for journalists is restricted, making battlefield claims difficult to corroborate.

More details to follow…

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