Rebels on the verge of taking Ethiopian capital, CNN says

Rebels on the verge of taking Ethiopian capital, CNN says

Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country, with over 100 million people. In the past, Ethiopian troops helped the U.S. fight Islamic terrorists in neighboring Somalia. But now, it looks like Ethiopia’s capital may fall to rebels in a civil war. The CNN reports:

Troops allied against Ethiopia’s central government are on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, a diplomatic source told CNN Wednesday, a day after authorities announced a nationwide state of emergency and called on citizens to take up arms to defend the capital.

The spreading conflict comes as the United Nations condemned possible “war crimes” uncovered in a joint investigation into the bloody year-long war in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region. The highly anticipated report was published almost a year to the day since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive against Tigray’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Twelve months on, the fighting has left thousands dead, displaced more than 2 million people from their homes, fueled famine and given rise to a wave of atrocities.

Now, with combined rebel forces edging closer to Addis Ababa, fears are growing that the conflict could spiral into all-out war. A senior diplomatic source in Ethiopia told CNN on Wednesday that fighters from the Tigray Defense Force (TDF) and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) were on the outskirts of the capital. The OLA is an outlawed armed group from Oromia, the country’s most populous region.

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The source added that the rebels had the firepower to be inside the city within hours, if they chose to be, but would prefer to wait for an agreement to be put in place. The rapid advance of the fighters, who said Sunday they had seized two key towns on the road to Addis Ababa, has raised concerns among Ethiopia’s leaders that the capital could fall.

The BBC reports that Ethiopia has famine-like conditions in war-torn regions such as Tigray:

Despite mass starvation occurring in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray, senior international aid officials are tiptoeing around declaring a famine nearly a year after the civil war erupted.

A report from Ayder Referral hospital in Tigray’s capital city, Mekelle, this week described children dying of starvation. The doctors provided photographs of small children suffering from acute malnutrition, their ribs and swollen bellies evidence of their plight. Those are the lucky ones as there is still a few weeks’ supply of emergency therapeutic food at the hospital.

In Tigray’s villages, the situation is grave. The war started last November and just two months later, the Catholic bishop of Adigrat described people perishing of hunger.

In June, one village committee compiled a list of 125 people who had starved to death in their isolated community.

Families who arrive in Mekelle after trekking for days on foot describe trying to survive on a diet of leaves and roots for weeks.

The director of Ayder Hospital, Dr Hayelom Kebede, tells how his nurses arrive at work with only a small bag of roasted grain to eat for the whole day. Their own children are malnourished…..

400,000 people are in “famine-like conditions”. Meanwhile the great majority of Tigray’s six million people are in need of emergency aid….

the war has escalated and there is only a trickle of humanitarian aid – less than 10% of needs – along with a near-complete shutdown in the economy with banks closed and essential supplies blocked.

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