Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

The Ethiopia Council of Ministers on Wednesday declared a six-month state of emergency in the country’s northern Tigray regional state.

The decision was made to maintain the country’s peace, the safety and security of its citizens and to prevent acts that may lead to further unrest and instability, the council said in a statement.

“The council of ministers has decreed the state of emergency recognising that illegal and violent activities within the National Regional State of Tigray are endangering the constitution.

“It is also endangering constitutional order, public peace and security, specially threatening the country’s sovereignty, seriously impeding the Federal Government from discharging its constitutional responsibility in the Region, violating decisions of the House of Federation.

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“We have to understand that this situation has reached a level where it cannot be prevented and controlled through the regular law enforcement mechanism,’’ the statement said.

A State of Emergency Task Force, led by the chief of staff of the armed forces and composed of representatives from “pertinent institutions’’ and accountable to the prime minister, has been established, the statement said.

The move came after rising tension in recent weeks between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, with each side accusing the other of trying to destabilize the country.

Earlier, Ahmed ordered military operations in Tigray in response to deadly attacks by traitorous force on Ethiopian Defence Force personnel stationed in the region.