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Ethiopian Olympic medalist and world-renowned long-distance runner Haile Gebrselassie has announced that he is enlisting in the Ethiopian army to fight on the front lines of the war against the Tigrayan rebels, the Guardian reports.
Olympic medalist Feyisa Lilesa has also announced that he is ready to fight on the front lines, local media reported.
The announcement comes a day after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said he would wage the war from the battlefield.
He made his statement following reports that the Tigrayan rebels were advancing rapidly towards the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. As a result, a number of countries, including the UK and the US, have advised their citizens to leave Ethiopia.
Gebrselassie, who won Olympic gold in the 10,000m at Atlanta 96 and Sydney in 2000, said: “I am ready to do whatever is required of me, including going to the front,” he said. he told state media.
Local media also quoted Feyisa as saying: “I am ready to take inspiration from the bravery of my ancestors and repeat what they did in the battle of Adwa on the front line to save my country.”
The war against the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF), which was forced out of power in Ethiopia in 2018, sparked a rebellion 12 months ago, after it disagreed with the Nobel Prize’s reforms of the Abiy peace.
The resulting conflict left thousands dead and triggered a humanitarian crisis after the TPLF took control of Tigray. The rebels are now threatening to march on Addis Ababa, which prompted Mr. Abiy to call on all Ethiopians to “prevent, overthrow and bury the terrorist TPLF”.
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