Ethiopia’s prime minister, on the front lines, urges troops to ‘destroy’ the enemy

NAIROBI, November 30 (Reuters) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said his enemies had been defeated and promised to recapture territory in the Amhara region from rebel Tigrayan forces after praising military victories against Tigrayans in the Afar region.

Front-page footage broadcast on state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting on Tuesday showed Abiy wearing military jungle fatigue and cap and scanning the horizon with binoculars.

“The Eastern Command secured an incredible victory in just one day of planning and one and a half days of fighting,” he said. “Now we will repeat that victory on this front.”

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Fana said he was addressing troops on the front lines of the Ethiopian conflict, near Gashena in the Amhara region. Reuters could not independently confirm his location.

“The enemy has been defeated. Our remaining task is to drive out the enemy and destroy them,” he told soldiers gathered under a lump of wood.

Abiy, whose army has been battling forces from the northern region of Tigray for more than a year, said he was on his way to the front line last week to monitor operations. Read more

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed attends his final campaign event ahead of Ethiopia’s parliamentary and regional elections scheduled for June 21 in Jimma, Ethiopia, June 16, 2021. REUTERS / Tiksa Negeri / File Photo

State media reported over the weekend that the army was recapturing the city of Chifra in the Afar region and other areas, after Abiy arrived. Reuters had no opportunity to independently confirm the announcement. Read more

“Young Tigrayans are falling like leaves. They should know they have been defeated and surrender from today,” Abiy, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said in the footage.

Getachew Reda, spokesman for the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the main force fighting the federal government, could not be reached for comment.

On Monday, Reda accused Abiy of participating in “farcical war games”.

The Tigrayan forces have threatened to infiltrate the capital Addis Ababa or to try to cut a corridor connecting the inland state of Ethiopia with the region’s largest port.

The TPLF dominated national politics until Abiy took power in 2018. Since the conflict erupted a year ago, the war in northern Ethiopia has killed thousands and displaced millions in Africa’s second most populous nation.

Tigrayan forces were initially repulsed, but recaptured most of the region in July, penetrating neighboring Amhara and Afar and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.

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Reporting by Addis Ababa Newsroom, Writing by Duncan Miriri, Editing by Katharine Houreld

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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