On August 10th, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed issued a statement calling on “all capable Ethiopians” to join the military and fight against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
“Now is the right time for all capable Ethiopians who are of age to join the Defence Forces, Special Forces and militias to show your patriotism.”
The statement came six weeks after the government declared a unilateral ceasefire in the northern region of Tigray on the day Tigrayan forces retook the regional capital Mekelle, in a sharp reversal after eight months of conflict.
This could also potentially mean that the ceasefire has been abandoned entirely.
Spokespeople for Abiy’s office and the Tigray emergency task didn’t provide any other comments.
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.
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.
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.
The statement did not mention the ceasefire, which the Tigrayan forces have dismissed, arguing the government should agree to its conditions for a truce.
After retaking control of most of Tigray in late June and early July, Tigrayan forces have pushed into the adjoining Afar and Amhara regions, capturing the United Nations World Heritage site of Lalibela.
In an attack in the Afar region on August 5th, 12 people who had been forced from their homes by violence were killed, said Mohammed Yesuf, head of the Dubti Hospital.
An additional 46 people were treated for injuries at the hospital, he told Reuters by phone. It appeared they had been injured in an explosion, he said, citing burns on some of the injured.
Those who were killed and injured had been sheltering at a school and health clinic, he said.
It was not possible to verify the claims. The Afar region’s government said on Friday that Tigrayan forces were responsible for the attack in the Galikoma area.
Tigray Forces spokesman Getachew Reda denied responsibility for the attack.
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