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British nationals are being urged to leave Ethiopia amid military clashes in the country, with a warning that there is a risk of conflict spreading without notice.
A nationwide State of Emergency was declared in Ethiopia on 2 November due to ongoing conflict in the country's Tigray, Amhara and Afar regional states.
According to the Independent, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, and at least two million people have been displaced since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a military offensive against the Tigray People's Liberation Front(TPLF) in November 2020.
The UK government is now advising against all travel to Ethiopia telling Brits to leave 'while commercial routes are available'.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) explained it is likely to become 'more difficult' to leave the country in the coming days.
A statement on the department website said: "There is a military conflict ongoing in the north of Ethiopia. Military clashes are now occurring in Tigray, Amhara and Afar regional states. The conflict has potential to escalate and spread quickly and with little warning.
"The FCDO advises against all travel to Ethiopia, except Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, because of the risk of the conflict spreading to new areas without prior warning."
It continued: "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. Currently, there remain good commercial options to most destinations from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, with most domestic flights operating normally (except Semera, Dessie, Weldiya and Tigray)."
The FCDO said the nationwide State of Emergency 'provides the police with greater powers to arrest and to search property', and that people should be 'aware that the police are using these powers where there are security threats or where there is a concern about an individual's support to banned groups'.
The statement added: "Those of Tigrayan or Oromo ethnicity may face increased scrutiny, although this power could affect all people, including at the airport and through direct police operations. You should comply with the law, including on carrying ID cards, possession of foreign currency and possession of weapons. You should avoid confrontation and follow the instructions of the authorities."
The FCDO also said that Addis Ababa Bole International Airport remains open, including for transit passengers, and that flights 'continue to operate safely at this time'.
LADbible has reached out to the FCDO for comment.