Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told parliament on Monday that a general in Ethiopia’s federal military’s Northern Command could have been poisoned.
Two weeks before the launch of a military operation against Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), General Diriba, the commander of the Northern Command, was in meeting with TPLF leaders in Tigray, Abiy said, adding that he fell ill and then lost consciousness and was flown to Armed Forces Hospital in Addis Ababa.
The Prime Minister further added that people who were with the general brought the information that he was poisoned. “We suppressed it until it has been verified,” he said. General Diriba had not yet returned to work due to his condition, Abiy said.
Following this, Abiy said he was forced to appoint another officer to lead the Northern Command and that the TPLF leadership said it would not accept the new appointee, adding that “In fact, they had clearly made up their mind to eliminate the general and reject anyone who would replace him.”
“Then they attacked the Command and abducted his second-in-command, General Adem,” Abiy told the lawmakers.
In a lengthy address to respond to questions from lawmakers, Abiy said the country’s largest army and defense forces are under the command of the Northern Command in Tigray. He said there had been a number of provocations by the TPLF in the past. “Despite repeated attempts to remove stocks of artillery, the TPLF leadership refused,” he said.
Finally, on 4th November 2020, the attack took place at around 11:30 pm, he said. According to Abiy, measures had been made to prevent the attack and prevent it from spreading to Gondar and Woldiya.