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Ethiopia's Army Chief Sacked As Fighting Continues

Ethiopia's army chief, head of intelligence and foreign minister have been sacked as fighting continues in the northern Tigray region.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office announced their replacements on Twitter - no reason was given for the changes. Long-standing tensions between the central government and the local administration in Tigray boiled over into clashes last Wednesday. Dozens of casualties have been reported with reports of more air strikes.

There are fears the conflict could lead to civil war, which could also destabilise neighbouring countries. The UN says there have now been clashes between federal troops and Tigrayan forces in eight different locations. It says nine million people are at high risk of being displaced by the fighting. Aid cannot reach Tigray as it has been sealed off - and communication with the region has also been cut off.

Who has been reshuffled?

Army chief: Gen Adem Mohammed is replaced by his deputy Gen Berhanu Jula Intelligence chief: Amhara state head Temesgen Tiruneh takes over from Demelash Gebremichael, who become a police commissioner Foreign minister: Demeke Mekonen, who is prime minister, also takes on the role of foreign minister from Gedu Andargachew. The changes come a day after the parliament, in an emergency session, voted to dissolve the government of Tigray, saying it had "violated the constitution and endangered the constitutional system".

Debretsion Gebremichael, the sacked Tigray leader, has now called on the African Union to intervene to stop the country from spiralling into civil war.

In a televised statement, he said Tigray would continue to defend itself until the federal government agreed to negotiate. Last Wednesday, Mr Abiy ordered a military offensive, after an army base in Mekelle was taken over by forces loyal to the regional government of Tigray.

The cabinet also declared a state of emergency in the northern region, which borders Eritrea, for six months.

Source: bbc

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