Ethiopia PM says he will lead army 'from the battlefront'

Ethiopia PM, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, says he will lead army 'from the battlefront'
2 min read
23 November, 2021
Ethiopia's prime minister - a Nobel Peace Prize winner - says he will lead his country 'from the battlefront' in the escalating conflict between Ethiopian government forces and Tigray rebels
'Let’s meet at the battlefront,' said the Ethiopian leader [source: Getty]

Ethiopia’s prime minister says he will lead his country’s army “from the battlefront” beginning Tuesday, a dramatic new step by the Nobel Peace Prize winner in a devastating year-long war.

“This is a time when leading a country with martyrdom is needed,” Abiy Ahmed said in a statement posted on social media Monday night.

With rival Tigray forces moving closer to the capital of Addis Ababa, his government declared a state of emergency earlier this month.

An estimated tens of thousands of people have been killed in the war between Ethiopian and allied forces and fighters from the country’s northern Tigray region.

The United States and others have warned that Africa’s second-most populous country could fracture and destabilise the whole Horn of Africa.

Perspectives

The statement by the prime minister, a former soldier, does not say where exactly he will go Tuesday.

“Let’s meet at the battlefront,” the 45-year-old leader said.

His statement also claims that the West is trying to defeat Ethiopians, the latest pushback against what his government has described as meddling by the international community.

Envoys from the African Union and the US have continued diplomatic efforts in pursuit of a ceasefire to the fighting and talks.

In a year’s time, Abiy’s government has gone from describing the conflict as a “law enforcement operation” to an “existential war”.