Ethiopia: PM Abiy Ahmed boasts of military might

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Jul 05, 2021, 06:25 PM(IST)

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Photograph:( Reuters )

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His remarks came just a week after Tigray's capital Mekele fell to Tigray Defence Forces (TDF)

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Monday that the government can easily recruit one million new fighter but wanted a period of "silence" in the country's war-hit Tigray region.

Abiy Ahmed is 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner. His remarks came just a week after Tigray's capital Mekele fell to Tigray Defence Forces (TDF). Abiy's government almost immediately declared a unilateral ceasefire.

The TDF has described its seizure of Mekele and most of the rest of the northern region of Tigray as a major victory, while Abiy and other officials have countered that federal forces executed a strategic pullback to focus on other threats. 

"In one, two or three weeks, 100,000 trained, armed and organised special forces can be mobilised," Abiy told lawmakers.

Also Read | Sudan urges ceasefire in Ethiopia's war-hit Tigray

"If said special force isn't enough, if a militia is needed, in one or two months half a million militiamen can be organised. One million youths can be mobilised and trained."

But Abiy also said officials had "decided there should be a period of silence for everyone to think".

Tigrayan leaders on Sunday issued their first formal response to Abiy's ceasefire call, saying they would only accept it if forces from Eritrea and Ethiopia's Amhara region -- who have been backing the Ethiopian army -- also withdrew from the region. 

They also called for "proceedings" to hold Abiy and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki accountable for "damage" inflicted during the fighting, which has been marked by grisly massacres and widespread sexual violence. 

Abiy did not address those conditions on Monday.

(With inputs from agencies)

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