Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, has removed his Chief of General Staff, Gen Adem Mohammed, and replaced him with his deputy Gen Berhanu Jula.
It is not clear if Mohammed was removed over the ongoing fighting between Ethiopian forces and the military in the East African country’s semi-autonomous region of Tigray.
Also removed were the Intelligence chief, Demelash Gebremichael, who has been replaced with Amhara state Temesgen Tiruneh. Gebremichael becomes a police commissioner; Demeke Mekonen, who is deputy prime minister, replaces Gedu Andargachew as foreign minister.
Prime Minister Ahmed’s office announced the reshuffle on Twitter – no reason was given for the changes.
The changes come a day after the parliament, in an emergency session, voted to dissolve the government of Tigray, saying it had “violated the constitution and endangered the constitutional system”.
Long-standing tensions between the central government and the local administration in Tigray boiled over into clashes last Wednesday.
Dozens of casualties have been reported with reports of more air strikes.
There are fears the conflict could lead to civil war, which could also destabilise neighbouring countries.
It says nine million people are at high risk of being displaced by the fighting. Aid cannot reach Tigray as it has been sealed off – and communication with the region has also been cut off.
Debretsion Gebremichael, the sacked Tigray leader, has now called on the African Union to intervene to stop the country from spiralling into civil war.
In a televised statement, he said Tigray would continue to defend itself until the federal government agreed to negotiate.
Last Wednesday, Mr Abiy ordered a military offensive, after an army base in Mekelle was taken over by forces loyal to the regional government of Tigray.
The cabinet also declared a state of emergency in the northern region, which borders Eritrea, for six months.
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