UK Government urges Britons to leave Ethiopia amid military conflict

The UK Government is advising against all travel to Ethiopia over military clashes in the country.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is also urging British nationals to leave the country “while commercial routes are available”.

The advice comes amid an ongoing conflict in the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regional states of Ethiopia, and the FCDO said it “has the potential to escalate and spread quickly and with little warning”.

A statement on the department’s website said: “The FCDO now advises against all travel to Ethiopia, except for Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (where advice remains against all but essential travel). The FCDO also advises you to leave Ethiopia while commercial routes are available.”

It added: “You should leave Ethiopia now while commercial options are still available. It is likely to become much more difficult to leave Ethiopia in the coming days.

“Consular support is severely limited across Ethiopia. In the event of deterioration in the political or security situation, the British Embassy may be limited in the assistance that it can provide.

“Do not rely on the FCDO being able to evacuate you in an emergency.”

It is unclear how many Britons are still in the country. The FCDO has said “good commercial options” are available to most destinations from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, with most domestic flights operating normally.

The UN has recently called on all parties in Ethiopia “to put an end to hostilities and to negotiate a lasting ceasefire”.

The conflict has worsened in recent weeks, with forces in Tigray claiming key cities on a major highway leading to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and linking up with another armed group, the Oromo Liberation Army.

Months of political tensions between the country’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, and the Tigray leaders who once dominated the nation’s government led to conflict last year.

Abiy Ahmed declared a national state of emergency with sweeping detention powers last week.

The Tigray forces say they are putting pressure on Ethiopia’s government to lift a months-long blockade on their region of around six million people.

Africa Minister Vicky Ford said on Twitter: “The security situation in Ethiopia is deteriorating.

“We now advise against all travel to the whole country, apart from Bole airport, which remains open for departures & connecting flights British Nationals  should leave now while commercial flights are readily available.”