Ethiopia’s prime minister calls on civilians to join the army in its fight

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Ethiopia’s prime minister has called on civilians to join the army in its fight against rebels in the Tigray region.

Abiy Ahmed asked “all capable Ethiopians” to “show their patriotism” by joining the war, which is raging across the north of the country.

Fighting has escalated since June when the rebels, led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), recaptured much of Tigray in an offensive.

This came after the federal army had withdrawn and declared a ceasefire.

In a sign of how desperate the military situation has become, Mr Abiy – a Nobel Peace Prize winner – said the whole country had to get behind the battle to defeat the TPLF.

The TPLF has been designated a terrorist organisation by the government. But the group says it is the legitimate regional government of Tigray.

Fighting broke out in November 2020 between government troops and the TPLF, which ruled Ethiopia for decades and now controls Tigray.

The conflict has forced over two million people to flee their homes, with hundreds of thousands pushed into famine conditions.