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Ethiopia seeks to restrict media reporting on one-year war

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The Ethiopian government has issued a new ordinance aimed at restricting media coverage of the year-long war in the country, banning the sharing of unofficial information on “army-related movements, results and situations in the country. forehead “.

NAIROBI, Kenya – The Ethiopian government has issued a new ordinance aimed at restricting media coverage of the year-long war in the country, prohibiting the sharing of unofficial information on “military-related movements, results and situations on the front “.

The statement released Thursday evening, which applies to everyone in the country, also warns that “support (from rival Tigray forces) directly or indirectly in the name of free speech should cease immediately.” And he strongly cautioned against calls for the formation of a transitional government.

Security forces “will take action” against offenders, he said, but did not specify.

The Ethiopian government this month declared a state of emergency as fighters from the northern Tigray region, together with Oromo Liberation Army fighters, approached the capital, Addis Ababa. . The United States and other governments urged their citizens to leave immediately.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the war that erupted in November 2020 between Ethiopian forces and Tigray forces which long dominated the national government before Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018. Media Foreigners have been barred from entering Tigray for much of the war, with communication links severed, and local and foreign journalists have been intimidated and harassed.

In his latest attempt to rally all Ethiopians capable of waging what he now calls an “existential war,” the 45-year-old prime minister announced this week that he will be heading to the front lines to lead the army, a move dramatic two years after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

US and African Union mediation efforts in pursuit of a ceasefire and talks have made little apparent progress. The war in which witnesses described gang rapes, mass expulsions and deliberate starvation saw atrocities committed by all sides, although Ethiopian forces and their allies in neighboring Eritrea were mostly blamed. abuses.

The war has created a huge humanitarian crisis in Africa’s second most populous country, with some 6 million people in the Tigray region under a government blockade for several months. Many in the neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar remain out of reach of aid as Tigray forces make their way to the Ethiopian capital. They say they are pressuring the government to lift the blockade, but have also warned that they want Abiy to come out, by force if necessary.

“Today 9.4 million people are living their worst nightmare” in northern Ethiopia, World Food Program spokesperson Tomson Phiri said in Geneva on Friday.

The UN agency also said 35 aid trucks had arrived in the capital of Tigray, the first such aid to arrive in the region since October 18, when the Ethiopian military resumed its airstrikes against the regional capital. Around 100 relief trucks are needed every day to meet Tigray’s urgent needs, according to the UN.

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