On Wednesday, 24th November 2021, Ethiopia’s state media announced that the country’s deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen Hassen would take over with routine government duties as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed leads the federal forces to the battlefront,to counter the rapid advancement of the Tigray rebels.
Earlier on Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was spotted with military gear and well equipped, leading the soldiers to the battlefield. He said they could only fight to defend their national and territorial integrity.
On Monday evening, the Nobel Peace Prize Winner tweeted that he would join the federal forces in combating the rebels as they approached the capital Addis Ababa and called on other Ethiopians who love their country to join.
His location was not revealed, however, the state media reported on Wednesday afternoon that the embattled Prime Minister was already at the battlefront with some government officials.
State media said Abiy Ahmed had arrived at the battleground on Tuesday evening, where he had been having briefings with the federal forces laying down new strategies on how to defeat the rebels.
The Northern part of the country is under internet blackout as communication services were cut off last year following the escalation of the war thus, making it difficult for reporters to verify claims made by the government or the rebel forces.
Earlier this month, African Union Special Envoy to Ethiopia, former Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo called on the warring parties to accept a ceasefire and sit on a dialogue table to resolve their differences. He said for negotiations to be effective, there must be a ceasefire and warned that many people might be subjected to famine if the conflict is not resolved.
Abiy Ahmed promised an easy victory in 2020 when the conflict started. In late November last year, he declared victory over the rebels but quickly declared a ceasefire when the Tigray rebels overpowered the federal forces in Makelle.