Tigray fighters and Oromo rebels are said to have surrounded the capital.
George Anderson, a freelance journalist, had tweeted that airlines departing Addis Ababa were ”reported to be fully-booked as diplomats, government officials and Ethiopian citizens flee Addis with imminent takeover by Tigray/Oromo forces”.
Ethiopia declared a six-month state of emergency on Tuesday after Tigray rebels captured strategic cities and said they were moving towards the capital, Addis Ababa.
The announcement came two days after Abiy Ahmed, the country’s prime minister, asked citizens to take up arms to defend themselves against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
According to the BBC, Ahmed was said to have asked his countrymen to “pick up arms and defend” Addis Ababa against the rebels.
“Any type of weapons to block the destructive TPLF, to overturn it and bury it. Dying for Ethiopia is a duty (for) all of us,” he said.
War broke out in 2020 between Ethiopia and rebels in the Tigray region seeking to break away from the country.
The United States on November 2 issued a travel advisory, saying the security environment in Ethiopia has deteriorated significantly in the last several days with a continued escalation of armed conflict and civil unrest in Amhara, Afar and Tigray.
“A significant portion of the A2 highway connecting Addis Ababa with cities to the north has been restricted by Federal authorities which has led to disruptions, stranded travelers, and a generally non-permissive travel environment,” the advisory reads.
Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, expressed concern in a tweet.
“The United States is alarmed by reports of the TPLF takeover of Dessie and Kombolcha. Continued fighting prolongs the dire humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia. All parties must stop military operations and begin ceasefire negotiations without preconditions,” he said.