Ethiopia accuses US, Western nations of 'destructive' approach

2021-12-07 19:25:08
Ethiopia accuses US, Western nations of 'destructive' approach

Ethiopia on Tuesday accused the United States and other Western nations of "perpetuating a destructive narrative" after Washington and its allies sounded the alarm over reports that the authorities were unlawfully detaining citizens on ethnic grounds.

On Monday, the governments of the US, Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain released a joint statement, claiming they were "profoundly concerned” by recent reports of the Ethiopian government's detention of large numbers of Tigrayans on the basis of their ethnicity and without charge.

Ethiopia's government declared a nationwide state of emergency in early November after the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel group claimed major advances on a key highway to the capital Addis Ababa.

Lawyers and rights groups say the detention of thousands of Tigrayans by the government appear largely to target Tigrayans based on their ethnicity alone.

Ethiopia’s government recently urged the US to stop disseminating falsehoods against the country, after Washington warned of the possibility of “terrorist attacks” in the East African nation.

Thousands of Ethiopians rallied in the capital last month to denounce the US for alleged interference in their country’s domestic affairs.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's spokeswoman Billene Seyoum told a press conference that the measures were not targeting any particular group of people based on their ethnic identity.

"Insinuating in that regard is misguided, it's not only misguided but it's also perpetuating a destructive narrative," she said, adding that the detentions were "based on credible evidence and testimony".

Her comments came hours after the government announced it had retaken the strategic towns of Dessie and Kombolcha, the latest in a round of territorial advances claimed by pro-Abiy forces.

After the rebels reported major territorial gains as part of a march towards Addis Ababa, Abiy announced last month that he would head to the battlefield. Since then, the government has announced the recapture of several small towns.

The TPLF has dismissed the government's claims, saying the rebels were making strategic withdrawals and remained undefeated.

The war erupted in November 2020 when Abiy sent troops into Tigray to topple the TPLF -- a move he said came in response to rebel attacks on army camps.

The conflict between Ethiopian's federal government and the leadership of Tigray has killed thousands of civilians and forced millions to flee their homes.

The African Union has been spearheading international efforts to try to broker a ceasefire but so far little concrete progress has been reported.

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