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Inciting civilians will fan the conflict, Ethiopia's Abiy Ahmed told

AFRICA
By Jael Mboga and Agencies | November 3rd 2021

Police officers walk amongst civilians at Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on February 21, 2018. [Reuters]

The Kenyan Foreign Affairs ministry has criticised the incitement of ordinary civilians into the Ethiopia conflict.

Ethiopia declared a six-month state of emergency on Tuesday after forces from the northern region of Tigray said they were gaining territory and considering marching on the capital Addis Ababa.

The announcement came two days after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed urged citizens to take up arms to defend themselves against TPLF.

Earlier on Tuesday, authorities in Addis Ababa told residents to register their arms and prepare to defend their neighbourhoods.

"It [incitation] must be shunned to avoid the escalation of hostilities and the danger of fragmentation of the country," the ministry said.

This comes as Facebook removed a post from Ethiopia's prime minister for violating its policies against inciting violence, the BBC reported.

In the post, Abiy said that the rebel advance was "pushing the country to its demise," and he urged citizens to "organise and march through [any] legal manner with every weapon and power... to prevent, reverse and bury the terrorist TPLF".

A spokesperson for Facebook, told the BBC: "We were made aware of a post by Ethiopia's Prime Minister and removed this for violating our policies against inciting and supporting violence.

The Kenyan Foreign Affairs ministry added that the restoration of a state of normalcy for Ethiopia and for its affected immediate neighbours is critical and urgent.

The statement added that the ongoing deterioration of the situation in Ethiopia and the Tigray People's Liberation Front's expansion from Tigray to Afar and Amhara is concerning.

The statement from the Kenyan Foreign Affairs ministry said the nationwide state of emergency declared by the Federal Government of Ethiopia comes exactly a year following the commencement of hostilities in Ethiopia's Tigray region.

“These developments are despite the tremendous efforts being made by regional and international partners towards the restoration of peace and stability in Ethiopia.”

The message from Ethiopia's friends and partners has been firm, consistent, and clear. They have reiterated that all hostilities must cease and desist immediately.

"The primacy of a political solution to a problem of political and civilian character must be upheld," the statement added.

"The humanitarian situation of all, including the people of Tigray, must be addressed.

"Parties to the conflict must ensure unfettered access for humanitarian assistance. Human rights must be upheld and respected."

The Foreign Affairs ministry stated that Ethiopia needs to redouble efforts to find lasting peace.

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