The Ethiopian leader said he would bury his enemy. His spokesman did not think it was inciting violence

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“We will bury this enemy with our blood and bones and exalt Ethiopia’s glory,” Abiy said at the military headquarters in the capital, Addis Ababa, a day later on Wednesday. declaration of national emergency and urged the Ethiopians to take up arms to fight the advancing Tigrayan forces.

The speech doubled down on comments made by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate in an earlier Facebook post, urging supporters to “march with any weapons and resources … to defend, expel and bury the terrorist TPLF”. it was done. The Tigre People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which ruled the country for more than three decades before Abiy came to power in 2018, has been designated a terrorist group by the current government.

Abi’s post was removed by facebook for violating its policies against inciting and supporting violence. But the prime minister’s spokeswoman, Billin Seyum, denies that Abiy’s other recent statements equate to calls for violence.

“The prime minister calls on Ethiopians to defend their city, protect their communities, defend their country” is part of the government’s constitutional responsibility to prevent any attacks, Bilen said in an interview on Tuesday. “The prime minister is asking people not to attack their counterparts and their brothers and sisters,” she told CNN’s Becky Anderson.

Bilen also said that the Ethiopian government opposed Facebook’s removal of Abiy’s post, adding that it was “not necessarily” a call “to divide everyone and descend into civil chaos, but.. . about being vigilant in our communities.”

more than a year after the war

The TPLF has been battling Ethiopia’s military since the prime minister accused the group of attacking a federal military base and ordered an offensive in Tigre last November. The war has killed thousands, displaced more than two million and fueled famine.

a series of CNN investigation has also exposed a series of atrocities committed by the Ethiopian government and Eritrean forces during the year-long war in the Tigre. All actors in the conflict have been accused of human rights abuses.

Throughout the interview, Bilin repeatedly accused CNN and other Western media outlets of misrepresenting the conflict in Ethiopia and of contributing to the “hysteria” that Addis Ababa was under siege.

For the TPLF’s part, spokesman Getachev Reda told Anderson on Tuesday that the group is “not interested in power, we are not interested in the region.”

“Abi’s attackers are killing our children day after day for God’s sake, and we have to make sure those ‘dogs of war’ are stopped and we continue to take measures,” Getachev said, referring to the ongoing conflict. Said happened. Tigre.

Ethiopian army Veterans urged to rejoin army The TPLF and allied rebels have moved to the capital in recent days. Nine groups opposing the government – a broad coalition of armed groups and political actors representing various regional and ethnic interests, including the TPLF – formed a new alliance Last Friday “in response to the crises facing the country” and to fight against “Ethiopia’s genocidal regime,” according to the leader of one of the groups.

Getachev said that fighters allied with the TPLF would continue fighting until there was “preparation on the part of Abiy’s government” to negotiate a ceasefire, and that the TPLF would be “even more than happy to expand the olive branch.” “

Still TPLF expressly disapproved A unilateral ceasefire declared by the Ethiopian government in June, when Tigrayan forces recaptured the regional capital, Mekele. Since then, the fighting has spread beyond the borders of the Tigre to the neighboring Amhara and Afar regions.
The ongoing conflict has taken an undeniable toll on civilians. In a statement last week, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres Called for unrestricted humanitarian access to the Tigre, Amhara and Afar. The United Nations also said that no aid convoy with supplies had been able to enter the Tigre since mid-October.
a joint investigation The conflict in Tigre, released on 3 November by the United Nations Human Rights Office and the Ethiopian State-appointed Human Rights Commission (EHRC), found that atrocities were committed on all sides, including the denial of access to humanitarian relief.

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said the investigation had uncovered violations involving Ethiopia’s military and allied forces, but had also seen “heavy allegations of abuse by Tigrayan forces” since Ethiopia declared a ceasefire in June.

Getachev told CNN he “categorically rejected” the joint report because of the EHRC’s involvement, and called for an independent investigation. Tigris, human rights groups and other observers have also expressed concerns about the independence of the investigation from government influence, although the United Nations has reaffirmed its impartiality.

allegations of racial targeting

Witnesses and the EHRC have accused Ethiopian official Arresting people in the capital Addis Ababa on the basis of ethnicity, using the broad powers granted by the current state of emergency.

About the arrest Getachev said, “We know for a fact that Abi is trying to intensify violence not only against Tigreyan but also against others who are unwilling to fight his desperate cause.”

Billin told CNN on Tuesday that he would need to find out more about reports of alleged arbitrary detainees in the capital, but that the state of emergency was not intended to “target any particular individual based on the identity from which they are aligned.” are doing. “

Instead, the policy is designed to “protect the Ethiopians” and “protect the residents of Addis Ababa” who have been told they are going to come under siege, she said.

At least 16 UN staff members and dependents are in custody, according to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Speaking to the press in New York on Tuesday, Dujarric declined to give details of the ethnicity of those detained. “These are UN employees, they are Ethiopians… and we want to see them released, no matter what their ethnicity is on their ID cards,” he said.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the reports were “concerning” and “if confirmed,” the United States would condemn them. He said the US understood from reports that those arrested were Tigrayans, and that “detention based on ethnicity is completely unacceptable.”

CNN’s Richard Roth and Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.

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