The State Department urged all U.S. citizens in Ethiopia to leave the country as “soon as possible” on Friday as an alliance of anti-government forces vowed to see the East African nation’s leadership dismantled.
“The security environment in Ethiopia is very fluid,” the U.S. embassy in Addis Ababawarned in a statement published online.
“We advise U.S. citizens who are in Ethiopia to leave the country as soon as possible,” it said, adding that commercial flights could be booked from the capital’s Bole International Airport.
It comes after the State Department issued a level 4 “do not travel” advisory warning Americans against traveling to Ethiopia “due to armed conflict, civil unrest” and the “potential for terrorism and kidnapping in border areas.”
For those still in Ethiopia or planning to go, the department advised that they “draft a will,” “designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries” and “discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care custody of children, pets, property” and belongings.
The warning came as nine anti-government groups formed an alliance to see Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government dismantled, whether “by force or by negotiation.”
The group announced its alliance in Washington on Friday amid calls from African and Western leaders for a ceasefire to a war that has stretched on for just over a year now.
Ethiopian government forces and their allies have been clashing with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and others since November 2020 after Abiy accused local authorities in Tigray of attacking a military camp, a charge the TPLF denied.
Since then, the fighting has led to thousands of deaths, with hundreds of thousands of people displaced, while a blockade of Tigray has been blamed for causing mass starvation in the region.
The pact signed on Friday expands a pre-existing agreement between the TPLF and the Oromo Liberation Army, members said, with all factions of the new agreement having armed units.