President Uhuru Kenyatta is in Ethiopia amid growing international efforts for a cessation of hostilities in the country’s war.
Kenyatta who is reportedly mediating the crisis, arrived unannounced in Ethiopia and was received by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
“I welcome my dear brother President Uhuru Kenyatta to his second home,” Abiy said.
Kenyatta also met Ehtiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde.
His visit to the capital Addis Ababa comes amid an escalation in a year long war in northern Ethiopia between the Ethiopian armed forces and forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Last week, Ethiopian authorities rounded up high-profile Tigrayans from a bank CEO to priests as well as United Nations staff in a mass crackdown on suspected supporters of rebellious northern forces, according to people linked to the detainees.
Police denied targeting the Tigrayan ethnic group, saying those arrested were believed to have links to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which has fought central government for a year.
The war has killed thousands, forced more than two million people from their homes, sucked in troops from neighbouring Eritrea and left hundreds of thousands in famine. Fighting has spread into neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions, threatening the stability of Ethiopia and the wider Horn of Africa.
Ethiopia declared a state of emergency last week as Tigrayan forces pushed south towards the capital Addis Ababa. That allows for indefinite detentions and requires citizens to carry ID cards that can indicate ethnic origin.
Kenyatta, last week called on the Ethiopian government and the TPLF to stop hostilities and instead engage in dialogue to resolve their differences.
The country has heightened its security and vigilance along the borders following the deteriorating security situation in Ethiopia.