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Haile Gebrselassie and Feyisa Lilesa ready to go to battle front

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Ethiopian Olympic heroes Haile Gebrselassie and Feyisa Lilesa

Haile Gebrselassie and Feyisa Lilesa ready to go to battle front

Ethiopian Olympic heroes Haile Gebrselassie and Feyisa Lilesa say they are ready to go to the front line in the war against rebel forces to defend Ethiopia.

Haile Gebreselassie says he is ready to go to battle front to defend Ethiopia as a symbol of black freedom.

Gebrselassie, 48, said “I am ready to do whatever is required of me, including going to the front line.”

He told Ethiopian News Agency, state media, the danger that Ethiopia is facing is also an attempt to oppress Africa through neocolonial means.

“It is a coordinated effort to snatch Ethiopia’s history as a symbol of black people,” Gebreselassie added.

Haile Gebrselassie During his 25-year career as an athlete, he claimed two Olympic gold medals, eight World Championship victories and set 27 world records. He announced his retirement from competitive running in 2015.

Read More Ethiopian PM will lead the army ‘from the battlefront’

The Olympic silver medalist Feyisa Lelesa, 31, was quoted by the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation website as saying that he was ready to draw inspiration from the “gallantry of my forefathers” and go to the front line to “save my country”.

He became famous for holding up his crossed wrists as if they were shackled to draw global attention to the crackdown on demonstrators demanding political reforms in Ethiopia.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) was the dominant party in government at the time. Following the protests, Mr Abiy became prime minister and the TPLF lost the grip on the country it had held for 27 years.

It later retreated to its stronghold of Tigray, from where it launched a rebellion last November after a huge fall-out with Mr Abiy over his reforms.

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