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Ethiopia/Tigray conflictBack
[Published: Monday November 30 2020]

 Ethiopia's PM says Tigray operation 'completed' as army seizes Mekelle

ADDIS ABABA, 30 Nov. - (ANA) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced victory against heavily armed rebels in the northern Tigray region.
The premier said in a statement on his Twitter account on Saturday that government forces had captured and gained control of the regional capital, Mekelle.
"The federal government is now fully in control of the city of Mekelle," the PM announced.
Abiy said government troops had freed thousands of federal forces from the army's Northern Command, who had been taken hostage by the rebels.
Federal troops had also taken control of the airport, the regional administration office and other key facilities, he added.
Since November 3, the Ethiopian army has been engaged in fierce fighting against the Tigrayan forces in a war that has shaken the Horn of Africa. The offensive started in response to rebel attacks on federal forces in Mekelle and Dansha.
There were no new reports on casualty count from Saturday's clashes. However, the United Nations has said hundreds of people have died in the fighting.
In addition, about one million people have been forced from their homes, including about 40,000 refugees who have crossed the border into neighboring Sudan.
Human rights groups have warned of the plight of the refugees fleeing the conflict.
Abiy, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said he had ordered the military operation to stop. "I am pleased to share that we have completed and ceased the military operations in the Tigray region."
The premier said he had ordered the federal police to arrest leaders of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). "Our focus now will be on rebuilding the region and providing humanitarian assistance while Federal Police apprehend the TPLF clique."
Billene Seyoum, the prime minister's spokeswoman, said, "The safety of Ethiopians in Mekelle and Tigray region continues as priority for the federal government."
The TPLF had dominated Ethiopian politics for nearly three decades; however, the group's clout has declined since Abiy came to power in 2018.
Since then, the government has introduced a number of reforms. Many senior Tigrayan officials have been detained, fired, or sidelined, in what the federal government calls a clampdown on corruption.
The once-powerful TPLF, however, complains of being unfairly singled out in corruption prosecutions.
With communication down in the Tigray region, it is unclear whether the rebels have ceased their operations against federal forces.
Hours after Abiy's announcement, TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael said the Tigrayan forces would keep fighting the government.
"Their brutality can only add (to) our resolve to fight these invaders to the last," he told the Reuters news agency in a text message. "This is about defending our right to self-determination."
The conflict has sporadically spilled over into neighboring Eritrea. On Friday night, at least one rocket fired from the Tigray region landed south of the Eritrean capital of Asmara.
Asmara was also rocked by at least six explosions on Saturday night.
The Tigrayan forces stand accused of launching rockets at Asmara with the intent to drag neighboring countries into the conflict.
Abiy was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in brokering peace with long-time enemy Eritrea.  - (ANA) -
AB/ANA/30 November 2020 - - -

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