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Facebook deletes Ethiopian Prime Minister’s post

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said Wednesday it deleted a post by Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy dated Sunday that called for Ethiopians to "bury" the Tigray People's Liberation Front soldiers. A Meta spokesperson said the post was removed "for violating our policies against inciting and supporting violence". But in a separate post Wednesday…

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks to people after swearing in for a new five-year term at Meskel square in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on October 04, 2021. (Photo by Amanuel Sileshi / AFP)

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, said Wednesday it deleted a post by Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy dated Sunday that called for Ethiopians to “bury” the Tigray People’s Liberation Front soldiers.

A Meta spokesperson said the post was removed “for violating our policies against inciting and supporting violence”.

But in a separate post Wednesday that remains online, Abiy vowed “to bury this enemy with our blood and bones and uplift Ethiopia’s dignity”.

In September the US State Department condemned a speech by a prominent Abiy adviser which compared Tigrayan rebels to the Devil and said they should be “the last of their kind”.

Washington has been among the most vocal critics of Ethiopia’s conduct of the year-long war in the country’s north.

But despite repeated calls for an end to violence, militant rhetoric has persisted from both sides.

Abiy’s government has been locked in a war for the past year with the TPLF, which dominated national politics before he took office in 2018.

The 2019 Nobel Peace laureate promised a swift victory, but by late June the rebels had retaken most of Tigray and expanded into the neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara.

The TPLF announced late Wednesday it had reached the town of Kemissie in Ethiopia’s Amhara region, some 325 kilometres (200 miles) northeast of the capital.

Spokesman Getachew Reda said the TPLF was working in the area alongside the Oromo Liberation Army rebel group, which on Wednesday predicted Addis Ababa could fall in a matter of weeks.

But a senior official from Washington’s humanitarian arm USAID warned of grave repercussions for Ethiopia’s already acute aid problems.

“We can only assume that any march towards Addis would spread increased displacement, increased need and increased suffering for the Ethiopian people,” the official told AFP.

“It would certainly increase the need for humanitarian assistance while also complicating the ability to provide that assistance.”

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