The Ethiopian government challenged one million Ethiopians living abroad to come home for the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian festive period that started on Christmas Day on 7 January and lasts until the festival of epiphany on 19 January.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government launched the initiative in late November as fighting raged in the north of the country. A surge south by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel group had brought it within 200km of Addis Ababa, the capital, after more than one year of fighting, prompting an exodus of foreign diplomats who feared the city could fall.
But a government counteroffensive, supported by drones and hastily mobilised militias, has succeeded in halting the advance of the TPLF rebels, who have now retreated to their northern Tigray region.
“We are not only fighting the war but also the campaign to weaken Ethiopia – Abiy
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