The federal government is offering blunt new advice for any Canadians still in Ethiopia amid worsening unrest in that country: “Leave immediately.”
In a statement issued Friday morning, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly urged Canadian citizens to get out now while they still can, if they can do so safely.
“Canada is very concerned by the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Ethiopia,” Joly said.
“Since November 18, we have been asking Canadians to avoid all travel to Ethiopia. We are now asking Canadians who are already there to leave immediately if it is safe to do so. Should the situation continue to worsen, the availability of commercial flights could soon become limited.”
READ MORE: Canada withdrawing some staff from Ethiopia amid tensions in Tigray region
She added, “Ultimately, Canadians abroad are responsible for their own safety and should make the best decisions for themselves and their families, based on their individual situations.”
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The Canadian embassy in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa is still open but consular assistance is limited. Joly warned Canadians “should not count on evacuation flights” if things worsen.
READ MORE: Efforts to calm rising violence in Ethiopia grow urgent as conflict enters 2nd year
Officials warned earlier in November that the security situation is deteriorating quickly in the country, where fighting between government and rebel forces in the northern region has intensified over the past year amid longstanding regional and ethnic tensions.
There are allegations of rampant human rights abuses against both sides in the conflict.
The United Nations estimates roughly two million people are now displaced as a result.
Tigray hostilities hamper humanitarian aid, raise concern of disease outbreak, officials say
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