US orders non-emergency employees out of Ethiopia due to ‘armed conflict’ and ‘potential for terrorism and kidnapping’

Ethiopia
Schoolchildren cross traffic as they return home from school in the Piazza old town area of the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021.
  • The US State Department ordered all non-emergency US employees out of Ethiopia.
  • In a statement, the state department cited ongoing conflict and warned of the "potential for terrorism and kidnapping."
  • Leaders in Ethiopia declared a state of emergency earlier this week as rebel groups near the capital.

The United States Department of State on Saturday urged all non-emergency government workers living in the country to evacuate amid the ongoing civil unrest there.

"Do not travel to Ethiopia due to armed conflict, civil unrest, communications disruptions, crime, and the potential for terrorism and kidnapping in border areas," the state department wrote in an updated travel advisory on Saturday.

The State Department said it urged US citizens in the country to depart by commercially available options and said it was "unlikely" that the US Embassy would be able to assist with departure should commercial options become unavailable.

"Although seats on commercial flights currently remain available, we cannot predict when demand will exceed capacity," the state department said Saturday.

The situation in the country could worsen, the State Department warned, leading to supply chain issues, communications blackouts, and travel disruptions.

Officials in Ethiopia on November 2 declared a state of emergency in the country and on Friday asked veterans of the nation's military to re-join to fight off two aligned rebel groups that are threatening its capital city of Addis Ababa, CNN reported.

According to CNN, nine armed groups on Friday formed a joint alliance opposing the Ethiopian government "in response to the scores of crises facing the country" and to the "genocidal regime of Ethiopia," they said in a statement, according to the report.

The group, called the United Front of Ethiopian Federalist and Confederalist Forces, said it no longer recognizes the government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, whose troops have been accused of war crimes, and said it would work to establish a transition government, according to the report.

The Ethiopian government in response said some of the groups involved had little support and called it a "publicity stunt," according to CNN. Earlier this week, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed urged citizens to take up arms and defend themselves against rebel forces that took control of two key Ethiopian towns.

As Politico reported Saturday, the US and the administration of President Joe Biden over the past year have tried to use trade restrictions, visa bans, the threat of economic sanctions, and other diplomatic means to get the Ethiopian government and the rebel groups to end the ongoing civil war that has led to thousands of deaths.

"With the safety and security of millions in the balance, and more than 900,000 facing conflict-induced famine-like conditions, we prevail upon all forces to lay down their arms and open dialogue to maintain the unity and integrity of the Ethiopian state," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Thursday.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Comments are closed.