Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accuses the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front of seeking to destabilize the federal government.
Threats to Tigray. The Ethiopian army warned this Sunday of the imminent attack on Mekele, the dissident regional capital and seat of the local government that the federal power is seeking to dislodge, calling on civilians to flee while there is still time.
“The next decisive battle is to surround Mekele with tanks,” army spokesman Dejene Tsegaye told government media, threatening to besiege the town, stronghold of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front ( TPLF) who runs the region. This spokesman added to the attention of the half-million inhabitants: “Save yourself. You have been given directives to dissociate yourself from the junta, afterwards there will be no mercy”.
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Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2019, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched this operation on November 4 against the TPLF, accusing them of seeking to destabilize the federal government and of attacking two Ethiopian military bases in the region, which denies the Tigrayan authorities.
No verifiable information
On Saturday, the government said the army was advancing towards Mekele and had taken control of several towns, including Aksum and Adigrat, some 117 km north of the regional capital. “Military forces have taken control of Edaga Hamus town, which is on the road from Adigrat to Mekele” and located 100 km from Mekele, a government agency Ethiopia State of Emergency Fact Check said on Sunday.
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“The forces are currently advancing towards the last objective of the operation, the town of Mekele,” she added. None of the assertions of either side can be verified from an independent source, as Tigray is virtually cut off from the world.
The TPLF said on Saturday that civilians were killed in an “intense bombardment” of Adigrat by the Ethiopian army. The government says the military operation does not target civilians. No precise record of the fighting, which has killed at least hundreds of people since November 4, is available from an independent source. But more than 36,000 Ethiopians have already reached Sudan, according to the Sudanese Refugee Commission.
After having dominated for 15 years the armed struggle in Ethiopia against the military-Marxist regime of the Derg, overthrown in 1991, the TPLF controlled with an iron fist for nearly three decades the political and security apparatus of the country, before d ‘being gradually sidelined by Abiy Ahmed since he became Prime Minister in 2018.