“If someone is going to kill me in my home I’m not just going to sit there and do nothing.” Civil war erupted in Ethiopia late in 2020. The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front attacked government military bases in Tigray, pleading self-defence against federal forces massing on its borders. With Tigrayan forces pushing southwards, government officials have urged them onto the battlefield. Many are complying. In this striking piece, journalist Tom Gardner follows the remarkable story of Solomon Girmay, a former teacher who has become an unlikely militant.