The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which have been fighting the Ethiopian government for nearly a year have joined hands in an alliance with opposition groups to form a party against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, one of the groups has said.
Berhane Gebrechristos, spokesman for the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) said Friday the group joined TPLF and at least seven other opposition political parties in Ethiopia to form the United Front of Ethiopian Federalist Forces political party to remove Abiy from power.
A spokesman for the prime minister's office told Anadolu Agency that the government is aware of the alliance by Ethiopian factions but dismissed it as a gimmick.
“The opening up of the political space three years ago provided ample opportunity for contenders to settle their differences at the ballot box in June 2021. Any outliers that rejected the democratic processes Ethiopia embarked upon cannot be for democratization,” said Billene Seyoum.
The US Embassy in Addis Ababa urged its nationals on Friday to leave Ethiopia as soon as possible and called on the warring sides to embrace dialogue to bring the war to an end.
”We have been alarmed by reports of the TPLF further expansion of the conflict in Amhara and Afar. Continued fighting only prolongs the humanitarian crisis that is afflicting far too many people in Ethiopia today. All parties must begin ceasefire negotiations without preconditions,” it said.
There have been additional calls from the international community, including regional governments, to end hostilities through dialogue and negotiations.
The war has claimed thousands of innocent lives and left many injured.
Rise in online hate speech
Amnesty International warned Friday that there has been an alarming rise in social media posts advocating ethnic violence and government officials have implored civilians to take up arms against the TPLF and the OLA.
“The dire humanitarian and human rights crisis which began one year ago in Tigray has been spilling into other areas of the country. To stop the situation from spiraling out of control, the Ethiopian authorities must urgently take serious action to ensure human rights and international humanitarian law are respected,” said Deprose Muchena, Regional Director for East and Southern Africa at Amnesty International.
Facebook removed a post by Abiy on Nov. 3 that asked civilians to pick up arms. The company said it was inciting violence.
Amnesty said it noted a significant rise in other recent social media posts inciting violence and using ethnic slurs against Tigrayans, some of which have gone unchecked.
"According to analysis from a local human rights organization, influential people such as journalists and political figures were among those sharing the posts, and social media platforms were slow to remove them," said the rights group.
Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on Monday as TPLF rebels made military gains within 200 miles of the capital, Addis Ababa.
According to a UN report, more than 5.2 million people across Tigray -- more than 90% of the region's population -- require life-saving assistance.
Nearly 400,000 people are facing famine-like conditions and more than 100,000 children in Tigray could suffer life-threatening malnutrition in the next 12 months.