ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia: The U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia has ordered its non-emergency government employees in Ethiopia to leave the country, due to continuing armed conflict and civil unrest.
Denmark and Italy have also asked their citizens to leave Ethiopia while commercial flights were still available, as rebel Tigrayan forces and their allies advance towards the capital.
The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has promised to keep fighting, despite calls for a ceasefire from other African countries, Western states and the UN Security Council.
“Incidents of civil unrest and ethnic violence are occurring without warning. The situation may escalate further and may cause supply chain shortages, communications blackouts and travel disruptions,” the U.S. Embassy said on its website.
On Tuesday, Abiy’s government declared a national state of emergency, while Getu Argaw, police commissioner for the capital, told EBC news that it was “only a dream” for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front to think it could capture the city.
The conflict in the north of Ethiopia started a year ago when People’s Liberation Front forces seized military bases in the Tigray region. In response, Abiy sent troops, who initially forced the People’s Liberation Front out of the regional capital, but have experienced a reversal since June.
This week, the People’s Liberation Front and their allies told Reuters that they were in the town of Kemise in Amhara state, some 200 miles from Addis Ababa, though the Ethiopian government accused the group of exaggerating its territorial gains.