Ethiopian authorities detain 72 Tigrayan drivers working with United Nations



Wed, 10 Nov 2021 - 09:52 GMT


Wed, 10 Nov 2021 - 09:52 GMT

Airstrike in capital of Ethiopia's Tigray region, Mekelle in November 2020. Wikimedia Commons

Airstrike in capital of Ethiopia's Tigray region, Mekelle in November 2020. Wikimedia Commons

CAIRO – 10 November 2021: Reuters acquired an "internal U.N. email" indicating that 72 Tigrayan drivers working with the United Nations have been detained by Ethiopian authorities, as reported by the news agency Wednesday.


African Union High Representative for Horn of Africa Olusegun Obasanjo, who is also former Nigerian president, stated Monday from Ethiopia that the chance for a political solution to the current crisis is low.


Obasanjo clarified that "all leaders here in Addis Ababa and [others] in the North unilaterally agree that the disagreements between them are political and require a political solution through dialogue. Yet, the chance we have is low and time is short."


The AU high representative for the Horn of Africa expressed hope that by the end of the week, those leaders would come up with a clear method for delivering humanitarian aid, and a plan to withdraw forces in a way that is satisfactory to all parties in the conflict.


The African official and UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuidling Affairs Rosemary Dicarlo also submitted to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) a motion giving an overview of the situation. 


Airstrikes were launched Monday against the sites occupied by Tigray forces between Wollo province located in Oromia state, and Afar state, as reported by Sada El Balad citing Fana TV.


The raids targeted military training camps, and an arms depot belonging to Tigray forces.


In a similar context, Commander of Oromo Liberation Army Jaal Marroo told AFP that his forces are close to achieving victory, particularly that a number of soldiers in the federal army are defecting.


"We are preparing for another advance and another attack…The government is just trying to gain time and trying to provoke a civil war in the country. That is why they call on people to fight," Marroo added.


The commander had also stated that his forces lie 40 kilometers away from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and that they have not retreated a single inch from the territories they seized.


Marroo noted that the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) does not pose a threat to civilians urging the eviction of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his party "Prosperity" in order to launch the reconciliation process. 


The Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) announced Sunday that its forces lie 270 kilometers away from Addis Ababa, as reported by Al Arabiyah, warning it would enter the city, if Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed does not resign.


It is noted that a number of countries are withdrawing their staff in the country as a result. They also advised expats to leave, if their presence is not necessary. Those include the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon.


The TPLF had allied with other eight armed groups, including ones affiliated to the Oromo ethnicity, to which the incumbent Ethiopian prime minister belongs.


The newly announced alliance against Ethiopia's government said, Friday that they're "weeks to months" away from entering Addis Ababa, according to CNN.

The allied forces claimed that they are now in control of a town about 160 kilometers (99 miles) from the capital city.


Spokesperson of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) Odaa Tarbii Told CNN that this timeline is an estimate based on the current speed of the push south.


The alliance which was announced earlier Friday in formed of nearly nine rebel forces including the Tigray forces. This alliance seeks a political transition after a year of the disturbing war that raised a lot of concern over the political and humanitarian situation in the country.


The OLA, and other allied groups said that moving on Addis Ababa is not their main objective. Instead, it is calling for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to be removed, and to announce a transitional conference until holding truly democratic election, according to Tarbii statements.


From his part, Abiy Ahmed has been calling on civilians to confront these groups and get weapons to stop them; accordingly, both of Facebook and twitter have deleted the Ethiopian Prime Minster tweets and posts for being ‘hate, violent speech’ and ‘incites for violence’


Earlier Friday, the Ethiopian Armed forces also called on all physically fit ex-soldiers to register in the army and participate in military operations against the newly-formed alliance.


Tigray forces had captured two towns and have been advancing toward the capital so as now they lie 270 kilometers away from Addis Ababa.


The two towns are Dessie and Kombolcha, and both are located in the Amhara Region housing the largest ethnicity in Ethiopia. According to the Guardian, the former fell on October 31 while the latter was seized on November 1.


The conflict between Tigray and the federal government has been ongoing since November 1, 2020, as a result of the former's objection of the postponement of elections, and the marginalization of politicians affiliated to the TPLF, that used to be an integral part of the consecutive governments for decades.



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