ADDIS ABABA: International alarm mounted on Tuesday over the escalating war in Ethiopia as Tigrayan rebels claimed to be edging closer to the capital Addis Ababa and more foreign citizens were told to leave.

US envoy Jeffrey Feltman spoke of some progress in efforts to reach a diplomatic settlement to end the brutal year-long conflict, but warned it risked being jeopardised by “alarming developments” on the ground.

France became the latest country to tell its citizens to get out of Ethiopia, while the United Nations has ordered the immediate evacuation of family members of international staff, according to an internal document on Tuesday.

The rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) claimed this week it had taken a town just 220 kilometres (135 miles) from the capital, although battlefield claims are hard to verify because of a communications blackout. On Monday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday vowed he would head to the battlefront to lead his soldiers in what the government has described as an “existential war” in Africa’s second most populous nation.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2021

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