by H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

August 10, 2021

ADDIS ABABA — In a nine-month-old battle that has sparked a refugee crisis, Ethiopia’s leadership asked civilians to join the fight against resurgent Tigrayan troops now pressing beyond their own territory.

“Now is the ideal time for all capable Ethiopians who are of age to join the Defence Forces, Special Forces, and militias to express your patriotism,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said in a statement.

The announcement came six weeks after the government declared a unilateral ceasefire in Tigray’s northern province on the day Tigrayan troops retook the regional capital Mekelle, ending an eight-month struggle in a dramatic reversal.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which dominated Ethiopia for three decades and now controls Tigray, declared war on federal soldiers in November.  More than two million people have been forced to from their homes as a result of the fighting, with more than 50,000 fleeing to Sudan.

The Ethiopian government proclaimed a unilateral truce in June to allow farmers to grow, as stated in Tuesday’s statement.  The ceasefire has been dismissed by Tigrayan forces, who believe the government should agree to their terms for a truce.  Tigrayan troops have pushed into the neighboring Afar and Amhara areas, capturing the United Nations World Heritage site of Lalibela last week, after retaking control of much of Tigray in late June and early July.