Ethiopian Conflict: Army Marches On Tigray Region Capital

Army Marches On Tigray Region Capital
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Ethiopian federal government troops are currently pushing toward the regional capital of Mekelle despite effort by the international community to restore peace. According to a report, the two weeks fighting between the Ethopian federal government forces and Tigrayan regional forces has forced tens of thousands of people to flee to neighboring Sudan. Ethiopia’s federal government said Wednesday that army forces were marching on Tigray’s capital as international groups appealed for an end to the conflict in the African country.

The federal government committee established for the crisis said ‘armed forces continue to advance toward Mekelle.’

On Wednesday, Tigray’s regional authorities responded to the offensive by saying they would never surrender. ‘Tigray is now a hell to its enemies,’ the local government said in a statement. Tigray authorities had said earlier that two civilians were killed in an airstrike on the city, a claim the federal government has denied. They also said 100,000 civilians had been displaced during fighting in the northern region and called for urgent humanitarian assistance.

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The two weeks old fight have seen federal troops fighting with forces from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the region’s ruling political party that has now been designated a rebel group by Ethiopia government. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who in 2019 won the Nobel Peace Prize for his reconciliation efforts with Eritrea, launched the offensive in Tigray on November 4 in what he said was a response to an attack on a government base in the region. Ethiopian Defense Minister Kenea Yadeta on Tuesday said that the operation will end once the TPLF is “under control” and “willing to surrender.”

There is a looming humanitarian crisis as the conflict has worsened the suffering for many of the people in the region who already depended on food aid. The UN and other international organizations have been warning of the potential for disaster. Food aid trucks have been stranded at regional borders and banks in Tigray have been closed for days, cutting off people’s access to cash transfers. The region is also plagued with locust outbreak even before fighting began, and this had destroyed vast swathes of cropland, report says.

The United State has reacted to the development by calling for safe passage for the roughly 1,000 foreign citizens and aid workers, Americans among them, who have been trapped in the country since fighting erupted. The US embassy in a brief statement on Tuesday said: ‘We do not know if there will be additional U.N.- coordinated relocation efforts out of Tigray,’. ‘U.S. citizens who cannot depart Tigray safely are advised to shelter in place.’

 

AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK

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