The rhetoric continues to ignite in Ethiopia. More and more reactions are emerging after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s comments. On Sunday, the head of government identified Tigray’s rebel movement as a disease or an invasive plant. Words that some call incitement to hatred.
With our regional correspondent in Nairobi, Sebastien nemeth
Abiy Ahmed had seldom gone that far in his verbal attacks. The Prime Minister described the rebel movement in Tigray as “a cancer”, “a Satan” that must get rid of, “a weed” that must be “torn up” so that it “never grows back”. A virulent rhetoric that worries.
Researcher Lauren Blanchard describes “dehumanization to encourage more violence against civilians”. Simon Adams, director of the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, speaks of “dangerous hate speech,” especially at a time when “Tigrayans across the country are victims of ethnicity.” The same fear alongside the American Holocaust Museum, which condemns “an alarm signal” that arouses fear of “mass atrocities or even genocide”.
Certainly at no time does Abiy Ahmed appoint the Tigrayan people as an enemy. He focuses his attacks on what he calls the “junta”. For researcher Kjetil Tronvoll, however, the head of government has previously spoken several times about a “people’s war” and blurred the distinction between Tigrayan political leaders and civilians.
In his speech, Abiy Ahmed goes on to refer to the ceasefire and recall that he respected it. But these words are accompanied by many threats, which specify that “the armed forces were ready” and especially by multiplying the references to the unity of the forces against the rebel movement in Tigray. A reference to the various armed groups in the mobilization process in different regions of the country, given a confrontation with the Tigrayan rebel forces. The ceasefire has never seemed so fragile.