Nobel Peace Prize to war crimes in two years: what’s up with ...

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Nobel Peace Prize to war crimes in two years: what’s up with Ethiopia’s PM?

Failure to manage ethnic tensions is at the root of Abiy Ahmed’s troubles, as rebel troops threaten capital city

Marc Champion, Simon Marks and Fasika Tadesse

Few leaders have seen their fortunes turn as dramatically as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Nobel laureate now accused of human rights abuses, whose officials have asked residents to secure the capital against a potential assault by rebel forces.

What went wrong, according to close observers, was Abiy’s failure to navigate the deep ethnic divisions that have consumed Africa’s second-largest nation since the 1960s. Now, isolated by the US and Europe, his own future suddenly looks tenuous.  

It’s just a month since Abiy won elections and less than a year since he declared military victory over the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the ethnic-based party whose forces now threaten Addis Ababa and which dominated Ethiopia until Abiy took office in April 2018. It’s also just two years since the former military officer won the Nobel Peace Prize for signing a treaty with neighbouring Eritrea, to end a stalemate that followed a 1998-2000 border war. At the time, he was hailed in the US and EU as the best hope for bringing democracy and a market economy to Ethiopia, as well as to spread stability in a turbulent region that runs from Sudan to Somalia...

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