A BBC journalist based in its Nairobi’s bureau has resigned and joined the armed struggle in Tigray, Ethiopia.
Desta Gebremedhin Asefa served as a journalist at BBC’s Tigrinya but opted to ditch the newsroom for the battlefield.
Reports surfaced on social media Friday indicating that Desta had joined the armed struggle in Tigray.
Million Haileselasie, a journalist who is a correspondent for DW Amharic, tweeted, "Desta Gebremedhin @Desta_Geb, a BBC journalist, resigned from BBC and joins armed struggle in Tigray."
In a memo sent to staff on Friday evening, BBC confirmed that Asefa was no longer a member of the company and advised its employees against contacting him.
“This is to inform you that BBC Tigrinya’s Desta Gebremedhin Asefa has left the BBC with immediate effect. We advise that Desta should not be contacted or used in any BBC programmes.
“If you have any questions about this matter please contact me or [email protected] And should you receive any external enquiries, kindly refer them to BBC’s press office via [email protected],” the memo read in part.
Meanwhile, it is now six months since the conflict erupted in the Tigray region.
Reports indicate that the war began after the Ethiopian government moved to remove the region’s then ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).
According to a report on the BBC, TPLF had a fallout with Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed over political changes to the country’s ethnically based federal system leading to the conflict.
In addition, TPLF’s capture of federal military bases in Tigray is believed to have worsened the situation.
To date, reports indicate that thousands of people have been killed while approximately 1.7 million have been forced to move away their homes.