- The PM office says the August 11 National Call aims at Stopping TPLF from spiraling the country into further instability
ADDIS ABABA – Prime Minister Office Press Secretary Billene Seyoum said the alliance between OLF-shene and TPLF, groups designated as terrorist by the house of parliament, “is not surprising for the federal government”.
Billene also responded on several questions raised on the current issues in Ethiopia ranging from the latest attack on the Internal Displaced person (IDPs) in Afar region to the August 11 statement call for action during her briefing to the international media on Thursday.
Below are Excerpts from the press conference:
On the attacks in IDPs in Afar Region
“In the past few days TPLF attacked women and children in Galikoma kebele at a public school and health centre that was being used to shelter internally displaced persons.
“Together with these attacks, a stockpile of foods that had been reserved for humanitarian response had also been destroyed. Relatedly, the afar region has declared three days of mourning that began yesterday and will end tomorrow.
“It is to be recalled, in this regard, that following the enactment of the unilateral ceasefire, the terrorist group TPLF have been sending, in human waves, civilian fighters in to the Afar and Amhara regions, attacking, killing and rapping civilians as well as looting and pillaging communities and have displaced over 300, 000 people. Those that were attacked were also part of the displaced”.
On humanitarian response in N .Ethiopia
In terms of the response in Tigray, Billene said, “as of yesterday August 11, at least 277 trucks of humanitarian assistance have entered the Tigray region, this is an increase from the last update.
There are more than 10 international humanitarian organisations and UN agencies active in the assistance effort covering 79 woredas within the Tigray region while the federal government continues to assist the humanitarian effort in 14 woredas in Western part through the disaster prevention and risk management commission”.
In Afar and Amhara regions, Billene said, “displaced communities due to TPLF’s belligerent aggression in the Afar and Amhara regions witnessed in the past weeks also need humanitarian assistance although they aren’t getting attention by the broader International community which seems to be only focused on one area.
Nevertheless, the government is working to cover this gap and provide food and nonfood items. There is also an agreement in the pipeline with the WFP to support existing and additional IDPs with the necessary humanitarian assistance”.
On the August 11 statement
Billene said, “As the current TPLF’s aggressions continue unabated in Afar and Amhara regions, the federal government and the people of Ethiopian in unison are being forced to employ all means to defend their communities.
In this light, the August 10 statement that was issued is a national call to all Ethiopians in the country and abroad and it pertains to saving the nation from the overt declaration by the TPLF to disintegrate the country.
In the statement the open call that was made in the direction that has put in place for the national defence forces, the special forces and regional militias have been instructed to halt this destructive efforts by the TPLF as they continue encroaching communities within the Amhara and Afar regions.
A call has already been made to eligible Ethiopians to join the defence forces while others are being called upon to organize at every level to protect their cities, their towns, their villages, communities and neighborhoods.
It requires a concerted effort in addition to the efforts the federal government employing within its security apparatus. Hence, this national call is being made for every body to safeguard their communities and engage in thwarting the attacks by the terrorist TPLF group.
This call is also being made to members of our large diaspora community that is present globally… to continue exposing this terrorist organisation for what it is… for the behaviour that its has been showing and its terrorist manifestations, and to movilis all sorts of support in maintaining the sovereignty and continuity of Ethiopia as a state.
On misinterpretation of the statement
Despite the continued mischaracterization of the international media of the statement alluding that this call is against the Tigray region and Tigray forces… there is no Tigray force.. There is only the TPLF which is a terrorist organisation designated by the House of peoples representatives.
The tendency to make it seem as if the call is aimed at the people of Tigray who are part of the fabric of the Ethiopian social system is a misinterpretation.
I would like to reiterate that such divisive narrative formations, particularly in such a sensitive period, point more to the irresponsibility on the part of some actors and also point more to the lack of nuance and understanding of context than it does the intention and the spirit with which this was made.
On Reasons for eligible citizens’ to join ENDF
The PM office spokesperson said:
“The national call is not a call for lack of ability for the national defence force to protect the sovereignty of the country or protect citizens. But the manner and the way that the TPLF, as a terrorist organisation, is engaging is by sending an influx of civilians. In that regard, civilians are looting, they are destroying properties. I have reports coming in from Amhara region, in some communities, that they are also raping women and girls.
“In that regard, it requires a concerted effort by all community members. So, it’s not only the national defence force that can stop this influx that is being perpetrated by the TPLF. It requires a concerted effort of all citizens within the country to thwart the threat that is posed by the TPLF.
“Mind you that they also do have agents that are working in other parts of the country. And this national call is also raising the alarm and raising the need for citizens to understand and be vigilant of their communities throughout the country through which the TPLF operatives might be .. and… have shown that they are dealing as well. And so, this has nothing to do with the military’s capacity.
“Nevertheless, the ongoing call for eligible citizens of the national defence forces is also part of the efforts not only with regards to assuaging the fears or thwarting the threats of TPLF but because the national defence forces are also the first who are called on demand for other emergencies as well.
“In that regard, on-boarding eligible citizens is part of ensuring the peace, security and stability of the country strengthened regardless of threats coming from terrorists, foreign aggression or also national disasters”.
Responding to a Question that the August 11 statement mean that the unilateral ceasefire has been lifted.
“It means the government and the people of Ethiopia will employ all means necessary to prevent the TPLF spiraling the country into further instability… that is what it means in nutshell”.
On latest alliance between OLF-Shene and TPLF
“This is not surprising for the federal government… the alliance of two terrorist groups. Both groups have been designated as terrorists by the House of people’s representatives in early May. While the timing of the public declaration needs an examination, the government has been indicating, for over two years, that the TPLF have been using Shene as errand runner for their destructive missions.
“With yesterday’s public declaration of this unusual marriage which they have acknowledged publicly, what they have acknowledged is that they are working in unison leading towards destructive activities against the stability of the nation and that terrorism is a general feature of both.
“So the house peoples’ representatives representing millions of Ethiopians have already declared these two groups as terrorists and, in addition to that, this public declaration which has already been stated by the government long ago has become much more public and acknowledged”.
“While the government has been saying that for a while, the international media seems to start believing it now when it comes out of the terrorist groups… the horse’s mouse now they have told that to the world.
“The important point is that no group can claim for the people of Oromia while it is killing the people of the region for its individual political gains. And also no entity can claim to the people of tigray while it also killing its own people and holding them hostage for its own political gains.
“Lets not forget that the TPLF tortured, killed, displaced and disappeared many Oromo youth brandishing them as part of the Shene organisation”.