Diplomatic efforts to avert an attack on Ethiopia’s capital accelerated on Thursday after Tigrayan forces from the country’s north advanced on the city this week, Reuters reported.
The United States’ special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, was slated to arrive in Addis Abeba later in the day to advocate for a halt to military operations and the start of ceasefire talks.
On November 16, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni convened an East African leaders’ summit to discuss the crisis, which puts the central government against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and its allies.
Separately, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has called for an immediate cease-fire. It urged the parties to exercise caution, de-escalate tensions, and reach a resolution through conversation.
The fighting must stop
On Wednesday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a statement saying, “The fighting must stop!”
He urged the opposing groups to “lay down their arms and stop fighting, to communicate, and to find a way to lasting peace.”
On Wednesday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he spoke with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed “to offer my good offices to establish the conditions for a conversation so the fighting ends.”
The United States Embassy in Addis Abeba authorized the voluntary departure of some officials and family members due to the escalating confrontations.
According to police spokesperson Fasika Fanta, “many people” have been arrested in Addis Abeba since the government proclaimed a state of emergency on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, residents told Reuters that numerous Tigrayans had been arrested, but Fasika insisted the arrests were not based on ethnicity.
On Tuesday, Abiy’s government announced a state of emergency as Tigrayan forces prepared to advance on Addis Abeba.
The war began a year ago when TPLF-aligned groups, including troops, seized military bases in Tigray. In response, Abiy dispatched additional troops to the northern region.
The TPLF had controlled national politics for nearly three decades when Abiy seized president in 2018 after years of anti-government rallies.
The TPLF then accused him of concentrating authority at the detriment of Ethiopia’s regional states, which Abiy disputes.