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Ethiopian soldiers training with a heavy machine gun at an undisclosed camp in September. Photo: Amanuel Sileshi/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia urged Americans to "leave the country as soon as possible" on Friday in response to rebel forces from the northern region of Tigray converging near the capital of Addis Ababa, calling the situation "very fluid."

Why it matters: Ethiopia's government declared a state of emergency on Wednesday over the presence of rebel forces, allowing Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to impose curfews, order citizens into military service and restrict the news media.

  • The embassy allowed its nonemergency employees and family members to leave the country Thursday because of the conflict.

The big picture: The rebel push toward the capital is the latest escalation in a yearlong civil war that has killed thousands of citizens and threatens to tear apart Africa's second-most populous country.

  • Thousands of people in Ethiopia, especially in war-torn Tigray, face famine because of the conflict. United Nations leadership has accused Ethiopia's government of creating the famine by intentionally restricting aid to the region.
  • The Biden administration threatened in September to impose new sanctions on Ethiopian officials "responsible for, or complicit in, prolonging the conflict."
  • The warring parties have exchanged allegations of war crimes and genocide.

Go deeper: U.S. freezes aid to Sudan over military coup

Editor's note: This post has been corrected to reflect that the Biden administration threatened to impose sanctions in September (not earlier this month).

Go deeper

Nov 24, 2021 - Podcasts

Escalating war in Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed — a Nobel Peace Prize-winning politician — has said he’ll lead troops who are fighting rebels from the Tigray region of the country in what he’s calling "the final fight" to save Ethopia. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is warning of a potential humanitarian crisis there that could destabilize the entire region.

  • Plus, the rise of vegan Thanksgiving.
  • And, the story of the first Thanksgiving - 1200 miles south of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Guests: Axios' Zach Basu, Ben Montgomery and Russell Contreras.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Julia Redpath, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Alex Sugiura, Sabeena Singhani, Lydia McMullen-Laird, David Toledo and Jayk Cherry. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Go deeper:

Updated 10 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 12 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.