All British citizens in Ethiopia have been told to leave “immediately” after it was announced that the country’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister has left to fight on the front lines against rebels advancing towards the capital.
“The conflict in Ethiopia deteriorates rapidly. In the coming days, we may see the fighting approaching Addis Ababa, which could severely limit the ability of British citizens to leave Ethiopia, “said Vicky Ford, Africa’s minister, on Wednesday.
“Those who choose not to leave now should make preparations to take refuge in a place of security in the coming weeks. We can not guarantee that there will be options to leave Ethiopia in the future,” Ford said, adding that interest-free loans were available to help British citizens who could not afford to buy a plane to return to the UK.
The news came when Haile Gebrselassie, the former Olympic champion runner, said he was ready to swap his running shoes for army boots and head to the front line to fight alongside Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, according to state media.
Gebrselassie set 27 world records, won two Olympic gold medals in the men’s 10,000m and took eight World Cup golds – indoors and outdoors – during his 25-year career.
“I am ready to do whatever it takes for me, including going to the front line,” said the 48-year-old, who is considered a living legend in Ethiopia, related to David Beckham in the UK.