France evacuates its nationals from Addis Ababa, and the Ethiopian army announces the advance towards the Amhara region
A source in the French Foreign Ministry said that his country will start repatriating its nationals from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Sunday evening, while the Ethiopian army announced the continuation of the fighting towards the Amhara region after taking control of the Afar region.
The source told Reuters that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ordered fully paid private charter flights to bring its nationals back to the country.
France last week urged all its nationals to leave Ethiopia without delay as the conflict escalated there.
The US Embassy in Addis Ababa had said that the security situation in the country continues to deteriorate, and urged its citizens to leave immediately and to use the available commercial options.
Last Friday, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie urged her country’s citizens to leave Ethiopia immediately, saying that Canada was concerned about the “rapid deterioration in the security situation there.”
Jolie added – in a statement – that the Canadian embassy in Addis Ababa is still open.
control of afar
On the ground, the Afar special forces supporting the Ethiopian army announced the restoration of full control over the Afar region (northeast of the country).
The federal army told the island that it would continue its advance – from the Afar region – towards the Amhara region, especially to the areas of “Bati” and “Kombulcha”.
Al-Jazeera correspondent in the Afar region – Muhammad Taha Tawakul – confirmed that the government forces were able to secure the strategic Mille Road, through which more than 90% of the incoming Ethiopian imports pass through the port of Djibouti, where more than a thousand trucks pass through to Addis Ababa.
Battles are still raging in several regions in northern Ethiopia, and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appeared for the second day in a row from the battlefronts in military uniform.
Abi Ahmed said that his country is proud of its soldiers and national army, and that they will repel the enemy’s attack and will achieve victory, and that the Tigray Front will not be able to defeat the soldiers of his country.
On Saturday, the Ethiopian government announced that the army had regained control of the Burqa and Shifra regions on the border between the Afar and Amhara regions.
As for the Shawarbit front, battles are still taking place between the government forces on one side, and the alliance of the Tigray Front and the Oromian Anuq Sheni group on the other.
In international reactions, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is deeply concerned about the military escalation in Ethiopia.
Price added – after a phone call between Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Blinken – that the minister stressed the need for urgent action to conduct negotiations.
On the humanitarian front, the United Nations World Food Program says more than 9 million people are facing hunger as a direct result of the conflict.
The humanitarian crisis is concentrated in the three regions: Tigray, Amhara, and Afar. The Amhara region has witnessed the largest jump in numbers in terms of the number of people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, with nearly 4 million people.
And the extent of malnutrition has expanded in the fighting areas, and figures indicate that about 50% of pregnant and lactating women who were examined in Amhara and Tigray suffer from malnutrition.
As for children, the examination data indicated that malnutrition rates among them in the three regions ranged between 16% and 28%.