US provides evacuation plane for its citizens in Addis

Tigray conflict

Ethiopians fleeing intense fighting in their homeland of Tigray. The embassy of the United States in Ethiopia has provided several evacuation options for its citizens amid heightening conflict in the country.

Photo credit: Ebrahim HAMID | AFP

The embassy of the United States in Ethiopia has provided several evacuation options for its citizens in the Capital Addis-Ababa as conflict continues in the country.

In a press release seen by Nation, the embassy said it has hired a commercial plane to evacuate citizens willing to leave the capital as soon as possible.

“The security situation in Ethiopia continues to deteriorate. The Embassy urges U.S citizens in Ethiopia to depart now using commercially available options.

“Although the Embassy continues to process emergency passports and repatriation loans, and to provide other emergency services, the Embassy is unlikely to be able to assist U.S. citizens in Ethiopia with departure if commercial options become unavailable,” said the embassy.

The embassy added that there are also multiple options such as commercial loans.

“If you have difficulty securing a flight or need assistance to return to the United States embassy for guidance. The Embassy can also provide a repatriation loan for U.S. citizens who cannot afford at this time to purchase a commercial ticket to the United States.

“If you are a U.S. citizen or parent of a U.S. citizen minor and are delaying your departure because of your non-U.S. citizen spouse, your minor child, or you do not have a valid U.S. travel document please contact us” it added.

Weeks ago, diplomatic missions like Germany, the United Kingdom, United States and Turkey asked their nationals to leave Ethiopia due to the worsening conflict. Zambia also airlifted its citizens.

Conflict’s background

Last week, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed defended his frontline actions and declared ‘victory’ over the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The premier’s office said that his actions did not negate the need for peace, just that his forces were pushing back against a group he labelled terrorist.

When the national forces first launched attacks on TPLF in November 2020, Abiy declared an end to the operation five weeks later, but the fighting continued.

By late June, the rebels had retaken most of Tigray, including Mekele, the capital of the Tigray region.

TPLF has in recent weeks claimed they were on a march to Addis Ababa, raising the urgency of ceasefire calls.

On Wednesday last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a swift end to the fighting.