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Former Ethiopian Olympian wants to join the fight against Tigray rebels

Ethiopian Olympic star Haile Gebrselassie   -  
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Ethiopia

Former Ethiopian Olympian, Haile Gebrselassie, said he is ready to join the fight against the Tigray rebels in the north of the country.

On Friday, a state-affiliated broadcaster showed images of the prime-minister Abiy Ahmed purportedly directing troops in the frontline.

Haile Gebrselassie, Olympic gold medallist said, "I'm a major, by the way. I am a major in (the) police, that's why don't be surprised if I hold a weapon because I already have a weapon". 

The Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency this month as Tigray fighters moved closer to the capital, Addis Ababa. 

The United States and others have told their citizens to abandon the country immediately.

"We Ethiopians have a relationship with the whole world, with Americans for over 100 years, Germany for over 100 years, France for over 100 years - many countries over 100 years. Okay, now Ethiopia has a problem, how can you just say, 'oh leave the country as soon as possible, leave them'. I feel so sad", admitted the former Olympian.

The conflict between the government and the rebels from the TPLF has been active for over one year.

The violence has caused tens of thousands of victims.

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