Nine anti-government factions in Ethiopia will form an alliance as pressure mounts on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with rebel forces making advances towards the capital.
Two of the groups, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) and the Agaw Democratic Movement (ADM),including several groups have armed fighters although it was not clear if they all do.
Abiy’s spokesperson, Billene Seyoum, defended the Prime Minister’s rule since he first took office in 2018 following a wave of anti-government protests. His party was re-elected in June.
“The opening up of the political space three years ago provided ample opportunity for contenders to settle their differences at the ballot box in June 2021,” Seyoum said. She did not refer directly to the new alliance.
The announcement of the new alliance comes during a two-day visit to Addis Ababa by U.S. Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman.
On Thursday, he met African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki, as well as the Ethiopian defence minister, finance minister and deputy prime minister, according to the State Department.
It was not clear whether the U.S. envoy would meet Abiy. His spokesperson said she had no information on that.
The new alliance, called the United Front of Ethiopian Federalist and Confederalist Forces, includes the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been fighting Abiy’s government for a year in a war that has killed thousands of people and forced more than two million more from their homes.
The groups will hold a signing ceremony on Friday in Washington, they said in the announcement.The front is being formed to reverse the harmful effects of Abiy’s rule on the peoples of Ethiopia, the groups said.