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Tigray crisis starting to affect ordinary Ethiopians

(9 Nov 2021) In Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, residents have spoken of their distress as the African Union’s envoy for the Horn of Africa warned Monday there is little time to reverse the crisis in northern Ethiopia which has drastically deteriorated in recent weeks.
It came amid an escalating offensive by Tigray forces against the government.
There are signs of a deepening crisis that is affecting ordinary citizens here too.
Schools have been shut because of the war and the pandemic is making it a tough year for everyone.
It looks like business as usual, but beneath the surface undercover security officers are watching.
Foreign journalists are viewed with suspicion.
There is tension in the air and people are struggling to make ends meet in this war economy.
Kinfe Degu, sells watches on the streets.
Times are tough these days. “Yes we are losing money but even if we have to sacrifice our lives we are ready to do that in order to save our country.”
Young people are being urged to join the army and fight.
Weekly rallies calling on volunteers to take up arms are on the rise.
But many young people are worried for themselves and their country.
“I really can’t say much about this war. When you think of the number of people killed, we cannot even plan for tomorrow. Losing our county and our people is like losing ourselves,” says 22-year-old Helen Gezahegn, a secretary at one of Ethiopia’s private hospitals.
And schools are not faring any better.
Many schools have been shut down because of the pandemic and also the war, but yesterday the minister of education said national exams would resume after they had been postponed for the past four months.
But many students in the embattled Tigray and Amhara regions will not be able to sit exams due to the insecurity.
Many schools in and around the areas of conflict have become shelters for 1.7 million displaced by the fighting.
Ethiopia’s Minister of Education Birhanu Nega visited students as they were taking their exams in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Monday.
The education minister told reporters that over 600,000 students are taking the national exams, a prerequisite to enroll in universities and for higher education institutions.
Out of the registered students, the minister says 91.5% of them are sitting for the exam. Students in the conflict area are expected to take the exam in the coming month without elaborating how.
Some of the students say that the war has given them more time for preparation, but delayed their chances of enrolling in university on time.

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