Authorities of Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa on Tuesday called on residents to prepare to defend their neighbourhoods and register weapons in the next two days after rebellious forces from the northern region of Tigray said they are planning to invade the city, state media reported.
People should register their weapons and gather in their neighbourhoods, the city administration said in a statement carried by the Ethiopian News Agency.
“Residents can gather in their locality and safeguard their surroundings,” the statement added. “Those who have weapons but can’t take part in safeguarding their surroundings are advised to handover the weapon to the government or their close relatives or friends.”
The call comes after Tigrayan forces took control of the cities of Dessie and Kombulcha in the neighbouring region of Amhara.
The Tigrayan forces have been fighting the government for the past year in a widening war that first pitted federal troops against the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), which dominated Ethiopian politics for nearly 30 years before Abiy Ahmed was appointed prime minister in 2018.
The conflict has killed thousands of civilians, forced more than 2.5 million people in northern Ethiopia to flee their homes and plunged around 400,000 people in Tigray into famine according to the United Nations.