US warns pilots of gunfire as war draws closer to Ethiopian capital
| News Today | Fox News
The United States is warning pilots that planes operating at one of Africa’s busiest airports could be “directly or indirectly exposed to ground and / or surface-to-air gunfire” as the war in Ethiopia approaching the capital, Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa International Airport is the hub of state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, a symbol of Ethiopia’s former status as one of the world’s fastest growing economies before the war. Addis Ababa is also the diplomatic capital of the continent as the seat of the African Union.
The FAA advisory notes no reports of disruption at Bole International Airport and “no indication of an intention to threaten civil aviation”, but it does indicate that the risk to aircraft on approach and on departure could increase if Tigray fighters surround the capital.
Tigray fighters “likely possess a variety of anti-aircraft weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank weapons, low-caliber anti-aircraft artillery, and portable air defense systems,” or MANPADS, which could reach up to at 25,000 feet above ground level, according to the FAA notice.
Recognizing the importance of Bole Airport for onward travel to the African continent and beyond, British Minister for Africa Vicky Ford told reporters last week Britain now advises against all travel to Ethiopia outside the airport for departures and transfers.
Tigray forces, which long dominated the national government before current Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018, have approached Addis Ababa in recent weeks and joined with another armed group, the Liberation Army. oromo, in an attempt to pressure Abiy into withdrawing.
Tigray forces also said they were pressuring the Ethiopian government to lift a months-long blockade on the Tigray region, which includes an Ethiopian government restriction on flights over Tigray.
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