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Ethiopia commemorates first anniversary of Tigray conflict

A man holds a candle during a memorial service for the victims of the Tigray conflict organized by the city administration, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on November 3, 2021.   -  
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EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP or licensors

Ethiopia

In a candlelight vigil, Ethiopian military officers and soldiers commemorated the first anniversary of the launch of a government offensive in the region of Tigray, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a response to what he called a "traitorous" attack on federal army camps.

"We won't forget their deed. We will struggle, fight, and win them (battles, ed). Ethiopia, our country will win," said Adanech Abebe, mayor of Addis Ababa.

Abiy on Wednesday urged citizens to back the war effort and accused the rebels of trying to turn Ethiopia into Libya and Syria, as anxious residents of the capital voiced support for the government's measures.

"Ethiopians, what we should understand is that Ethiopia has always been tested over the years when many forces from inside and outside were testing her to divide her, destroy and impoverish her," said Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopian Prime minister.

Ethiopia declared a nationwide state of emergency Tuesday and ordered residents of Addis Ababa to prepare to defend their neighborhoods. Abiy Ahmed further called upon all citizens to unite against the Tigrayan forces

"Until Ethiopia is free and peaceful, this is the time every citizen has to say, 'I'm an Ethiopian soldier', to condemn this mischievous plan while standing next to the Ethiopian National Defence Forces to humiliate the enemy," Abiy said

The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been fighting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government for a year, has claimed significant territorial gains in recent days, along with its ally the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).

Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa could fall within "months if not weeks", an Oromo group allied with Tigrayan rebels told AFP Wednesday, as Washington announced it would send a US envoy to the country to hold talks.

The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been fighting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government for a year, has claimed significant territorial gains in recent days, along with its ally the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).

As fighting has dragged on, reports of massacres, mass rapes and a starvation crisis have emerged, with the UN rights chief on Wednesday denouncing extreme brutality after a joint UN-Ethiopian report warned of possible "crimes against humanity" by all sides.

In Washington, the US State Department said it was sending Jeffrey Feltman, special envoy for the Horn of Africa, to the country this week.

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