Ethiopia is welcoming thousands of its diaspora this month after encouraging them to come back for the Orthodox Christian festive period in a bid to prove the country is safe and open for business despite the year-long civil war in the north.

The conflict between the government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel forces – which erupted in November 2020 – has killed thousands of civilians and forced millions from their homes, while the fallout has hurt the economy.

Nevertheless, prime minister Abiy Ahmed urged overseas citizens to return as part of the “great Ethiopian homecoming” for festive celebrations, starting with Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas last week and ending with the Timkat festival on 19 January.

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