Anti-government forces in Ethiopia claimed that they are closing down on the capital Addis Ababa. The Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) said its forces are just 25 kilometres away from the capital, while forces from Tigray have also made advances in the Amhara region.
This comes amid growing African and international calls for an immediate ceasefire.
The US special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, arrived in Addis Ababa on Thursday in a bid to put an end to the fighting and push for a ceasefire.
Feltman met with the African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat to discuss potential solutions for the conflict that had been ongoing for a year.
Meanwhile, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced an IGAD meeting on November 16 to discuss the situation in Ethiopia.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta urged the rival parties to lay down their arms and find a path to peace.
“The fighting must stop!” he said in a statement.
OLA spokesperson Odaa Tarbii tweeted late Wednesday: “Today, 1,165 Oromia Special Forces defected to the OLA. 400 of them joined OLA forces in the vicinity of Laga Tafo. Our forces continue pushing on from all directions, we are very close to seeing the end of this oppressive dictatorship.”
Meanwhile, Tigray Defence Forces which allied with the OLA recently has managed to control Dessie and Kombolcha. The two towns lie on the road to Addis Ababa, which has raised concerns among Ethiopia’s leaders that the capital could fall.
Abiy Ahmed’s government brushed off the calls for talks, said recruits were heeding the call to fight on the government side.
The Ethiopian government claimed that the TDF are exaggerating their firepower and territorial gains.
“We are fighting an existential war,” it said in a statement issued by its communication service.
Abiy’s government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday as the Tigrayan forces threatened to push forward to Addis Ababa.