Increased attacks dim luster of Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize winning prime minister

Abiy Ahmed News –

Hagos Gerezgjher sat outside his small electronic shop on a cold recent morning in this sprawling capital and lamented government attacks on his fellow Tigrayans, an ethnic group based in the north of Ethiopia.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed , he said, had targeted Tigrayans in the country’s ongoing civil war for political gain, he said.

“Mr. Abiy wants to finish us completely so that he can rule without any opposition. He thinks we’re a threat to his government,” said Mr. Gerezgjher, 45. “His soldiers are killing even women and children. We will never forgive him for killing our people.”

The anger underscores the deeply ambivalent image of Mr. Abiy today. He won global acclaim with a whirlwind of political and economic reforms after taking office in April 2018, culminating with the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his diplomacy ending a 20-year violent border dispute with Eritrea.

But the past year has been anything but peaceful. The 44-year-old prime minister clashed sharply this summer with Egypt and the United States over massive Ethiopian hydroelectric dam project Cairo warns could endanger its access to the irrigating waters of the Nile. The war with the Tigray region has brought warnings from the United Nations and rights groups that Addis Ababa’s aggressive military campaign risks creating a humanitarian and refugee crisis.

In both clashes, the Nobel Prize laureate has struck a decidedly belligerent tone.

“It should be underlined that no force could stop Ethiopia from building a dam,” Mr. Abiy told the national legislature on Oct. 22, 11 days after he formally collected his Nobel medal. “If there is a need to go to war, we could get millions readied. If some could fire a missile, others could use bombs.”

He quickly added, “But that’s not in the best interest of all of us.” FINISH READING STORY

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