We Can’t Risk Anymore: Foreign Nationals Rush To Leave Ethiopia As War Intensifies

We Can’t Risk Anymore: Foreign Nationals Rush To Leave Ethiopia As War Intensifies

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By Spy Uganda Correspondent

As fighting in Ethiopia’s civil war moves closer to the capital Addis Ababa, foreign nationals are scrambling to leave the country as soon as possible.

The large “danger” symbol and unequivocal warning on the website of the French embassy in Ethiopia say it all: “In light of the situation in Ethiopia, French nationals are formally called upon to leave the country without delay.”

Paris fears for the safety of the more than 1,000 French people living in Ethiopia, as the conflict between government forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) moves closer and closer towards Addis Ababa.

France has been calling on its citizens since November 23 to leave Ethiopia without delay; the French foreign ministry has booked and paid for seats on flights to Paris until the end of the week.

The UK has also urged its citizens to leave: “I am urging all British Nationals – whatever their circumstance – to leave immediately, while commercial flights are readily available and Addis Ababa Bole International Airport remains open,” UK Minister for Africa Vicky Ford said in a statement on November 24. UN employees have also been strongly advised to leave Ethiopia as soon as possible.

‘Afraid For Tigrayans’ 

The rushed exodus of Westerners from Ethiopia was triggered by the rebel forces’ rapid surge toward the capital over recent days. The secessionist troops have reportedly approached the Debre Sina pass, some 190 kilometres north of Addis Ababa.

For its part, the Ethiopian government continues to claim that reports of the TPLF’s progress are exaggerated – denouncing what it sees as sensationalist media coverage and alarmist security warnings by foreign embassies.

Addis Ababa even sanctioned the Irish embassy on Wednesday by expelling four of its six diplomats posted in Ethiopia in response to Dublin’s stance on the conflict. Ireland had joined in the UN Security Council’s calls for a ceasefire and dialogue between the parties in the country’s civil war.

This came after Ethiopia expelled on September 30 seven senior UN officials for allegedly “meddling” in the country’s internal affairs.

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