The speech doubled down on feedback the Nobel Peace laureate made in an earlier Facebook submit urging supporters to “march … with any weapon and resources they have to defend, repulse and bury the terrorist TPLF.” The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which dominated the nation for greater than three a long time earlier than Abiy got here to energy in 2018, has been designated a terrorist group by the present authorities.
“The prime minister calling upon the Ethiopian people to defend their city, to defend their communities, to defend their country” is a part of the federal government’s constitutional duty to beat back any assaults, Billene advised CNN’s Becky Anderson in an interview Tuesday, including, “The prime minister is not asking people to go and attack their counterparts and their brothers and sisters.”
Billene additionally stated the Ethiopian authorities has contested Facebook’s elimination of Abiy’s submit, including that it was “not necessarily” a name “to arm everybody and descend into civil chaos, but … about being vigilant in their communities.”
More than a yr of battle
The TPLF has been battling Ethiopia’s navy because the prime minister accused the group of attacking a federal military base and ordered an offensive in Tigray final November. The battle has left 1000’s lifeless, displaced greater than 2 million and fueled famine.
Throughout the interview, Billene repeatedly accused CNN and different western media shops of misrepresenting the battle in Ethiopia and contributing to “hysteria” that Addis Ababa was beneath siege.
For the TPLF’s half, spokesman Getachew Reda additionally advised Anderson on Tuesday that the group was “not interested in power, we’re not interested in territory.”
“Abiy’s bombers are killing our children day in and day out, for God’s sakes, and we have to make sure those ‘dogs of war’ are restrained and we’ll continue to take measures,” Getachew stated, referring to the continuing battle in Tigray.
Getachew stated that fighters aligned with the TPLF would proceed to combat till there was “readiness on the part of Abiy’s government” to barter a ceasefire, and that the TPLF could be “more than glad to extend the olive branch as well.”
UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet stated that whereas the investigation had uncovered violations linked to the Ethiopian navy and allied forces, it had additionally noticed “huge allegations of abuses by the Tigrayan forces” since Ethiopia declared the ceasefire in June.
Getachew advised CNN that he “categorically” rejected the joint report due to the EHRC’s involvement, and referred to as for an unbiased investigation. Tigrayans, human rights teams and different observers have additionally flagged issues in regards to the investigation’s independence from authorities affect, although the UN has reaffirmed its impartiality.
Allegations of ethnic concentrating on
“We know for a fact Abiy is trying to ratchet up violence against not only Tigrayans but also others who are not willing to fight in his desperate cause,” stated Getachew of the arrests.
Billene advised CNN on Tuesday that she would want to get additional particulars on reviews of alleged arbitrary detentions within the capital, however that the aim of the state of emergency was “not to target any particular person based on the identity that they are aligned to.”
Instead, the coverage is designed to “protect the Ethiopian people” and “to protect the residents of Addis Ababa” who’ve been advised they’ll come beneath siege, she stated.
At least 16 UN workers members and dependents are among the many detained, in response to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
Speaking to press in New York on Tuesday, Dujarric declined to element the ethnicity of these detained. “These are United Nations staff members, they’re Ethiopians … and we would like to see them released, whatever ethnicity is listed on their identity cards,” he stated.
State Department spokesman Ned Price stated the reviews had been “concerning,” and that “if confirmed,” the United States would condemn them. He added that the US understood from reviews that these arrested had been Tigrayan, and that “detention on the basis of ethnicity is completely unacceptable.”
CNN’s Richard Roth and Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.