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World Mekelle: conflict returns to Ethiopian city steeped in legacy of war

14:25  20 november  2020
14:25  20 november  2020 Source:   reuters.com

Ethiopia's Nobel winner, clouded by war, declares victory over northern region

  Ethiopia's Nobel winner, clouded by war, declares victory over northern region Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed claimed victory against Tigray forces. However, there was no immediate official comment on Saturday from forces loyal to the Tigray People's Liberation Front, who have been fighting federal troops for more than three weeks. Sources with the TPLF told ABC News that they decided to leave the city before the arrival of Ethiopian forces and called their move a "tactical retreat.

Battle of Mekelle is an ongoing battle fought between the armed forces of Ethiopia and the Tigray Region over control of the city of Mekelle , during the Tigray conflict .

Ethiopian federal troops are closing in on Tigray's capital of Mekelle , Redwan Hussein, the government spokesperson for the state of emergency task force, told CNN on Wednesday. As the fighting between Ethiopian and Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) soldiers rages in the region for a second week

By Maggie Fick

a close up of a tower: FILE PHOTO: Plane flies next to Tigray Martyrs’ monument during the funeral ceremony of Ethiopia's Army Chief of Staff Seare Mekonnen in Mekele © Reuters/TIKSA NEGERI FILE PHOTO: Plane flies next to Tigray Martyrs’ monument during the funeral ceremony of Ethiopia's Army Chief of Staff Seare Mekonnen in Mekele

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Mekelle, a city nestled in the arid, mountainous Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, is steeped in the lore of its guerrilla fighters, who marched in sandals to Addis Ababa to topple a Communist dictatorship in 1991.

Now, war is returning to a place where rusting tanks, small airplanes, and military equipment are displayed outside the museum, and the Tigrayan legacy of armed struggle is never far away.

Ethiopian federal troops advancing on Tigray's capital says gov't spokesman

  Ethiopian federal troops advancing on Tigray's capital says gov't spokesman Ethiopian federal troops are closing in on Tigray's capital of Mekelle, Redwan Hussein, the government spokesperson for the state of emergency task force, told CNN on Wednesday. © Ethiopian News Agency via AP This image, made from undated handout video released by the state-owned Ethiopian News Agency on November 16, 2020, shows Ethiopian military in an armored personnel carrier near the border of the Tigray and Amhara regions of Ethiopia.

And when different Ethiopian armed groups united under the banner of the Ethiopian People's © MICHAEL TEWELDE A resident of Mekelle , the capital of Tigray, rides a - Conflict -. Abiy launched the military operation after claiming the TPLF had attacked two federal military camps, which they deny.

Dr. Arkebe Equbay Tigrigna speech in Mekelle - Продолжительность: 3:24 Awramba Times 98 680 просмотров. Ethiopian attorney general announced release of 63 prisoners including Tigrai Colonel Biniam Tewolde - Продолжительность: 24:58 Tigrai Online 47 294 просмотра.

Towering monuments all over town honour martyrs and sacrifices Tigrayans endured through an uprising that lasted longer than a decade. It was to be followed by an even worse 1998-2000 war against the neighbouring nation of Eritrea over a border dispute. Thousands of young Tigrayans and conscripts from all over the country died in trenches and minefields.

a group of people on a city street: FILE PHOTO: A view shows a street in Mekelle © Reuters/MAGGIE FICK FILE PHOTO: A view shows a street in Mekelle

Though Tigrayans make up just 5% of Ethiopia's population, their leading role in the 1991 revolution gave them sway over the country in the decades that followed, until Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy took power two years ago.

Two weeks ago the central government launched an assault on Tigray to capture its leaders, after what Addis Ababa called a surprise attack by regional forces on army troops stationed in the region. After two weeks of fighting, the government says its forces are now advancing towards Mekelle.

Ethiopia's Tigray: These refugees fled a town littered with corpses. They join tens of thousands making the journey to Sudan

  Ethiopia's Tigray: These refugees fled a town littered with corpses. They join tens of thousands making the journey to Sudan Thousands have made the journey from the Tigray region in Ethiopia to neighboring Sudan where they have been met with a shortage of food, beds and shelter. The UN described Tigray as a humanitarian crisis which will only escalate in the coming weeks. A town 'covered with corpses'Another survivor, Gashaw Maleda, said four of his friends escaped, but another 15 were killed. Tigrayan militias came with machetes and knives, looking for people from the Amhara region to kill, he said. © Marwan Ali/AP At least 30,000 refugees have fled to neigboring Sudan, according to the UN. "I hated being human at the time.

Why is Ethiopia facing civil war ? – video explainer. Who is fighting in Ethiopia ? The conflict pits Ethiopian government forces and allied militia against Ethiopian government forces appear to be making some headway with twin advances along the main road to Mekelle , the Tigrayan capital, and

In response, Ethiopia ’s regional Tigray government declared a local state of emergency to fight the “invasion of outsiders.” After hundreds of people were killed in the Ethiopian government’s air strikes and ground combat, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned that agencies

Since the fighting erupted, a communications blackout has made it impossible for most media to reach Mekelle or speak with civilians there.

When Reuters visited the region two years ago, Mekelle's streets bustled with yellow three-wheeled motorized tuk-tuks and cars. People sipped Ethiopian coffee in outdoor cafes, speakers blaring songs in the local Tigrinya language.

But there was already a sense of defiance in the air. Abiy had ordered the arrest of Tigrayan former officials accused of corruption and human rights abuses. Residents, who would discuss politics mainly on condition of anonymity in a country with a long history of repression, said Tigrayans would not accept "humiliation".

"Nobody will kneel down here," a tour guide said.

On Thursday, Tigray forces accused the government of bombing a university in Mekelle. There was no immediate response from the government, although officials have said they are only attacking military targets.

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Ethiopia 's government on Thursday said rebels have committed "serious crimes" after conflict broke out this month in the northern Tigray region. Ethiopian federal forces are trying to advance along main roads from the south and the northwest of Mekelle and had got to within around 200 km of the

The Armed Forces of the federal governnment of Ethiopia have been developing their advance on the capital of the rebel province of Tigray On November 18, Ethiopian police arrested 287 individuals, military generals and officers suspected of having links with the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front)

The government says it blames the region's Tigray People's Liberation Front leadership for the conflict, and not Tigrayans, or even the TPLF more generally.

“There could be members of TPLF that are innocent, also the special forces, the young population," said Mulu Nega, named head of an interim government for the region by the federal authorities this week.

DEFIANT CITY

Mekelle's wide boulevards and electricity lines stretching into the rural countryside are testament to the TPLF's power when the party led Ethiopia's ruling coalition from 1991 until Abiy took power in 2018. The town has some of the best infrastructure of any Ethiopian city outside Addis Ababa.

Though most Tigrayans are subsistence farmers, Mekelle has a handful of upmarket hotels with gaudy chandeliers, and a modern airport, normally with several flights per day to the capital.

In a statement this week, the TPLF said hardships are part of life in wartime. It promised to give Ethiopian troops "hell" on its home turf.

When Tigray held regional elections in September in defiance of the federal government, the TPLF won by a landslide. Journalists were not permitted to travel there, but voters contacted remotely expressed pride in the TPLF's role ending the Communist dictatorship of the 1980s and putting Ethiopia on a path to economic prosperity and stability in the decades since.

The TPLF is celebrated in Mekelle as liberators and war heroes, and billboards keep decades-old memories fresh. Abiy's face, ubiquitous on posters and bumper stickers in many parts of Ethiopia during the heady beginning of his premiership, never became a prominent fixture there.

The government acknowledges the difficulty it would have in winning over a population that has so long revered the TPLF.

"To separate this people from this party we need to conduct more communications and public relations work, because the people should understand the reality," Mulu said.

(Reporting and writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by Katharine Houreld and Peter Graff)

Ethiopian forces will take Tigrayan capital in coming days, military says .
Ethiopian forces will take Tigrayan capital in coming days, military saysFederal forces seized control of Wikro, a town 50 km (30 miles) north of Mekelle and "will control Mekelle in a few days", Lieutenant-General Hassan Ibrahim said in a statement. Government troops had also taken control of several other towns, he said.

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