Rebel forces are nowhere near the capital and claims to the contrary are “propaganda,” Addis Ababa police commander Fasika Fenta told CNN on Thursday as allied fighters against the central government advance south.
In recent months, fighters loyal to Tigray’s former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), have joined forces with the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), a rebel group fighting for the rights of the people of Oromia, the most populous region of Ethiopia. advancing towards Addis Ababa and claiming control of several cities.
It is unclear if the rebels have the firepower to take the city and there are conflicting reports on how close they are to the capital.
But Fasika said the groups have exaggerated their positions.
“TPLF and OLA are spreading bigger propaganda claims than they are actually accomplishing. But they are actually being repelled from the places they are now,” Fasika said, denouncing their claims as “lies.”
Addis Ababa is under protection and the city continues to operate peacefully, he added.
An OLA spokesman told CNN on Thursday that the closest area the joint forces had was the town of Gerba Guracha, which is located 160 kilometers (99 miles) north of the capital. He added that it was a mistake to think that OLA’s operations in towns near the capital mean that “our control area has reached close to the capital. That is not the case.”