Ethiopia’s Prime Minister is fighting rebels on the ‘battlefield,’ according to state media, on Wednesday, where government forces are battling Tigray area rebels, sparking US-led international calls for a diplomatic solution and an urgent ceasefire.

Thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been thrown into famine-like conditions as a result of violence in the north of Africa’s second-most populated country.

Because of the increasing conflict and fears that Tigrayan rebels could march on Addis Ababa, foreign governments have advised their people to flee.

According to Fana Broadcasting Corporate, Abiy, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, “is now directing the counter-offensive” and “has been delivering guidance from the battlefield as of yesterday.”

It was unclear where Abiy, a retired military radio operator who reached to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, had deployed.

Officials have not responded to requests for information about his whereabouts, and state media have not shown footage of him in the field.

The US State Department warned late Wednesday that “there is no military solution” to Ethiopia’s civil conflict, in response to news of Abiy on the front lines.

“We urge all parties to avoid inflammatory and bellicose rhetoric, to exercise restraint, to respect human rights, to allow humanitarian access, and to protect civilians,” a State Department spokesman said.

A day earlier, Jeffrey Feltman, the United States’ special envoy for the Horn of Africa, warned that “nascent progress” could be “outpaced by the two sides’ military buildup.”

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