Ethiopia's PM sworn in for second term as war spreads

AP , Monday 4 Oct 2021

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been sworn in for a second five-year term running a country in the grip of a nearly year-long war.

Abiy Ahmed
FILE - In this Wednesday, June 16, 2021 file photo, Ethiopia s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks at a final campaign rally at a stadium in the town of Jimma in the southwestern Oromia Region of Ethiopia. Ethiopia s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been sworn in Monday, Oct. 4, 2021 for a second five-year term. AP

Abiy's Prosperity Party was declared the winner of parliamentary elections earlier this year in a vote criticized and at times boycotted by opposition parties but described by some outside electoral observers as better run than those in the past.

The prime minister, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner for restoring ties with neighboring Eritrea and for pursuing sweeping political reforms, now faces major challenges as war in the Tigray region spreads into other parts of the country, deadly ethnic violence continues and watchdogs warn that repressive government practices are on the return.

Abiy is expected to made a speech later on Monday.

The 11-month war is weakening Ethiopia's economy, once one of Africa's fastest-growing, and threatening to isolate Abiy, once seen as a regional peacemaker. Just three African heads of state - from Nigeria, Senegal and neighboring Somalia - were attending Monday's ceremony.

Ethiopia's government last week faced condemnation from the United Nations, United States and several European nations after it expelled seven U.N. officials it accused of supporting the Tigray forces who have been battling Ethiopian and allied forces.

The government is under growing pressure as people begin to starve to death in Tigray under what the U.N. has called a ``de facto humanitarian blockade.'' Last week the U.N. humanitarian chief told The Associated Press that the situation in Ethiopia is a ``stain on our conscience.''

The U.S. has threatened further sanctions if humanitarian access to Tigray isn't granted soon and the warring sides don't take steps toward peace.

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