Ethiopia PM Vows to Lead Troops in War Against Rebels

Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister says he will lead his country’s army “from the battlefront” starting Tuesday, a dramatic new step as the year-long conflict moves closer to the capital Addis Ababa.

Tens of thousands of people are estimated to have been killed as Ethiopian and allied forces fight against forces from the country’s northern Tigray region, who dominated the national government before Abiy Ahmed took office

Abiy said in a statement posted on Twitter late on Monday, “Starting tomorrow, I will mobilise to the front to lead the defence forces,”

“Those who want to be among the Ethiopian children who will be hailed by history, rise up for your country today. Let’s meet at the battlefront.”

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The statement by the 45-year-old prime minister, a former soldier, did not say where exactly he will go Tuesday. His spokeswoman, Billene Seyoum, did not respond to a request for comment from the Associated Press news agency.

Abiy’s comments came as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel group continued to press towards Addis Ababa, claiming control of the town of Shewa Robit, just 220km (136 miles) northeast of the capital by road.

It also followed a meeting of the ruling Prosperity Party’s executive committee to discuss the war. “And here we are an almost full circle with a Nobel Peace Prize winner using the most bellicose language to try and ramp up the stakes ahead of the defence of not only Ethiopia but life and death,” Lawrence said. “He says he’s basically willing to die for the cause.”

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