The US State Department has set up a special task force to monitor the possible departure of US citizens and embassy personnel in Ethiopia as a result of the escalation of hostilities in the country.
According to Foreign Policy magazine, which cites sources close to the matter, the decision to establish this working group comes after the US embassy in the country recommended that citizens leave Ethiopia “as soon as possible” this Friday .
Despite US concerns, Ethiopian authorities have denied that the capital Addis Ababa could be captured by rebels such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF).
“As for a ‘site’ on Adís, that is not true, and there is an alarmist narrative that creates a lot of tension between different communities, including international ones,” said Ethiopian spokeswoman Billene Seyoum.
This Friday, the UN Security Council called for an end to hostilities in the country and safe access for humanitarian aid to the areas hardest hit by the conflict.
Last Tuesday, the Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency across the country and urged citizens to arm themselves and protect neighborhoods from the rebel advance, while fighting against the TPLF increased in various regions of the country.
The conflict began last November when Abiy ordered a military offensive in retaliation for the attack on the army base in the capital, Tigray, Mekelle, after months of tension between the TPLF and the central government over the postponement of parliamentarians.
Tensions between the central government and the TPLF stem from Abiy’s takeover in April 2018 after Hailemariam Desalegn resigned after two years of protests, mainly from members of the Oromo and Amhara communities.
Abiy, the first member of the Oromo community to hold this position, initiated reforms and announced decisions that are viewed by the TPLF as an attempt to reduce its political power and as revenge against high-ranking members of the group serving in the previous executive were.