Ethiopia’s council of ministers has declared a nationwide state of emergency effective immediately, according to state-affiliated media.
“The state of emergency is aimed to protect civilians from atrocities being committed by the terrorist TPLF group in several parts of the country,” Fana reported on Tuesday, referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.
The move came after fighters from the northern Tigray region said in recent days they had captured the strategic towns of Dessie and Kombolcha in the neighbouring Amhara region. The Tigrayan fighters, who have been fighting federal government forces for a year, also indicated they might advance further south, on the capital, Addis Ababa.
The government said soldiers were still battling for control for the two key towns, some 400km (250 miles) from Addis Ababa.
Al Jazeera’s Priyanka Gupta reports.