Related Topics

  • Tigray crisis

Image source, AFPImage caption, Government forces have been battling rebels for a year

Ethiopia's military has called on former soldiers to re-join the army, as it battles to hold off a rebel advance.

The appeal comes as rebel forces – spearheaded by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) – make advances towards the capital, Addis Ababa.

The US embassy has told all US citizens to leave Ethiopia as soon as possible amid a "very fluid" security situation.

Hours earlier, nine anti-government groups forged an alliance to dismantle Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government.

The government has said it will continue to fight what it calls an existential war.

The conflict has entered its second year, with millions displaced and more than 400,000 on the brink of famine.

This week, government officials have declared a state of emergency, and called on residents to register their weapons and get ready to protect their neighbourhoods.

Ethiopia's international partners have called for an end to the hostilities.

  • EXPLAINER: Ethiopia's Tigray war – and how it erupted
  • AFRICA LIVE: Updates from the continent

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss urged both sides to agree a ceasefire in a call with Ethiopia's deputy prime minister on Friday.

"I made clear there is no military solution and that negotiations are needed to avoid bloodshed and deliver lasting peace," she said.

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for a ceasefire, saying: "The conflict in Ethiopia must come to an end."

US special envoy Jeffrey Feltman is visiting Addis Ababa to press for peaceful solution.

The new rebel alliance includes the TPLF and Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). Its leaders said they aimed to oust Mr Abiy's government and establish an interim administration.

This video can not be played

To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.Media caption, Here are three reasons why Ethiopia is still at war, a year since the conflict began.

The OLA and TPLF have already started fighting alongside each other and this week claimed to have captured the town of Kemise, 325km (200 miles) north of Addis Ababa.

But government officials have dismissed the new coalition, saying it will have no support.

"They are very weak, the weakest political force in Ethiopia," government spokesman Kebede Desissa told the BBC's Newshour programme.

He said "the reality on the ground is not indicating" that rebel forces are advancing on the capital.

Fighting broke out a year ago between government troops and the TPLF, which ruled Ethiopia for decades and now controls Tigray.

More on the Tigray conflict:

  • VOICES: How to end Ethiopia's suffering after a year of war
  • VIEWPOINT: Why Tigray is starving, but no famine declared
  • PROFILE: The Nobel Peace Prize winner who went to war