Ethiopian PM says to lead frontline combat against rebel forces

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday announced his decision to lead frontline combat as of Tuesday against rebel forces amid expanding conflict in the northern part of the country.

Ahmed called on “all patriotic Ethiopians” to join him in frontline combat against forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

“The time necessitates leading the nation through martyrdom. To this end, I will march to the battlefield from tomorrow onwards to lead our defense forces,” Ahmed said in his call to the nation.

“All of you who aspire to be one of Ethiopia’s most admired children, stand up for your country and join me on the frontline,” he said in a statement posted on social media late on Monday.

The conflict, which erupted on Nov. 4 last year in Ethiopia’s northernmost Tigray region between forces loyal to the TPLF and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), has over the past months spread across neighboring Amhara and Afar regions.

Over the past months, forces loyal to the rebel group TPLF have advanced southward into central parts of the East African country.

This was, eventually, followed by huge popular mobilization in the Amhara and Afar regions as well as other regional states in the country to fight back the TPLF’s expansion.

Earlier this month, the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) ratified a six-month state of emergency rule to contain the rebel group’s advancement and to ensure the country’s peace and security.