• Thu. Jul 29th, 2021

Tigray conflict: Unilateral ceasefire declared

ByAmeerah O'Connor

Jun 28, 2021
Tigray conflict: Unilateral ceasefire declared

A tank damaged in fighting between Ethiopian government and Tigray forces pictured in March

The Ethiopian government has declared a ceasefire in the Tigray region – eight months after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops to oust its leadership.

The announcement came as witnesses reported that anti-government troops had captured Tigray’s capital, Mekelle.

All sides have been accused of carrying out mass killings and human rights violations.

More more than five million people are in urgent need of food aid, the UN says, with 350,000 facing famine.

On Monday, reports began to emerge that the Tigrayan fighters – who launched a new offensive last week – had forced the interim administration from Mekelle.

Getachew Reda, spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), told news agency Reuters the city was now under their control.

A number of people in Mekelle have also told the BBC they are celebrating federal troops’ departure. An unnamed source within the interim government told news agency AFP “everyone has left”, while two eyewitnesses told Reuters Tigrayan soldiers were seen in Mekelle.

Ethiopia’s government has yet to comment on report that its troops have been pulled out.

Map

Map

Fighting began in November, when Ethiopia’s government, aided by troops from neighbouring Eritrea, launched an offensive to oust the region’s then ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). By the end of the month, it declared victory.

The TPLF had had a massive fallout with Mr Abiy over his political reforms though its capture of federal military bases in Tigray was the catalyst for the invasion.

The TPLF has since joined forces with other groups in Tigray to form the Tigray Defence Forces.

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