World Ethiopia to begin 'final phase' of offensive in Tigray region, says PM

09:40  26 november  2020
09:40  26 november  2020 Source:   reuters.com

Ethiopia says it has seized another Tigray town as conflict embroils Eritrea

  Ethiopia says it has seized another Tigray town as conflict embroils Eritrea Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government said on Monday it had captured another town in the northern Tigray region after nearly two weeks of fighting in a conflict already spilling into Eritrea and destabilizing the wider Horn of Africa. © Tiksa Negeri/Reuters FILE PHOTO: Members of Amhara region militias ride on their truck as they head to face the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), in Sanja, Amhara region near a border with Tigray, Ethiopia November 9, 2020.

Ethiopia ’s air force has carried out strikes in the restive Tigray region , the country’s prime minister has said , in another escalation of a crisis that observers fear There was no immediate response from the government in Tigray to the announcement of airstrikes. The region is being increasingly boxed in by

Ethiopia ’s prime minister says “the final and crucial” military operation will launch in the coming days against the government of the country’s rebellious northern Tigray region . Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in a social media post on Tuesday said a three-day deadline given to the Tigray region ’s leaders.

ADDIS ABABA/NAIROBI (Reuters) - The Ethiopian military will begin the "final phase" of an offensive in the rebellious northern Tigray region, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Thursday, hours after an ultimatum for Tigray forces to surrender expired.

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: FILE PHOTO: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks during a media conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris © Reuters/POOL New FILE PHOTO: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks during a media conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris

The government gave the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) 72 hours on Sunday to lay down their arms or face an assault on Mekelle, the regional capital city of 500,000 people.

Reuters was not immediately able to reach the TPLF forces for comment. Claims by all sides have been impossible to verify because phone and internet connections to the region are down and access to the area is tightly controlled.

African leaders mount effort to mediate Ethiopia conflict

  African leaders mount effort to mediate Ethiopia conflict African leaders attempted Monday to kickstart some kind of mediation in Ethiopia's escalating internal conflict, two days after rocket strikes on Eritrea's capital highlighted risks that fighting could spread. - Fears of wider conflict - In recent days the TPLF has extended the conflict beyond Tigray, launching rockets on airports in Ethiopia's Amhara region, which borders Tigray to the south, and in the capital of Eritrea, Ethiopia's neighbourUgandan President Yoweri Museveni held talks with Ethiopia's deputy prime minister Demeke Mekonnen, while former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo headed to Addis Ababa to make his bid for dialogue.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed vowed further air strikes after jets bombed the northern Tigray region on Friday amid reports that Tigrayan forces had seized control of federal military sites and weapons.

Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed says he is not ignoring international warnings over the escalating Tigray conflict. The leader of Ethiopia ’s Tigray region , meanwhile, accused Eritrea of sending soldiers over the border to attack local forces. In a statement on local TV, Debretsion Gebremichael gave no

"The 72-hour period granted to the criminal TPLF clique to surrender peacefully is now over and our law enforcement campaign has reached its final stage," Abiy tweeted, adding that civilians would be spared and that thousands of fighters had already surrendered.

"The last peaceful gate which remained open for the TPLF clique to walk through has now been firmly closed," Abiy said.

Abiy called on the people of Mekelle to "disarm, stay at home and stay away from military targets".

"Our National Defence Forces have carefully devised a strategy to bring the TPLF criminal clique to justice without harming innocent civilians, heritage sites, places of worship, development institutions and property," he added.

African envoys went to Ethiopia to plead for peace on Wednesday, hours before the ultimatum was to expire. Rights groups fear any assault could bring huge civilian casualties.

Escalating conflict could threaten Ethiopia's economic success story

  Escalating conflict could threaten Ethiopia's economic success story Ethiopia is teetering on the brink of civil war as fighting intensifies in the north of the country, sparking fears that its economic transformation could be stymied by protracted conflict. Federal government forces loyal to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed are making advances in the semi-autonomous northern Tigray region, which is currently controlled by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). The TPLF led a coalition which ruled Ethiopia for almost three decades prior to Abiy taking office in 2018.

Ethiopia ’s prime minister is rejecting growing international consensus for dialogue and a halt to deadly fighting in the Tigray region as “unwelcome,” saying But communications remain almost completely severed to the Tigray region of some 6 million people, and it is not clear how many people in Mekele

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed gave the anti-government Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) 72 hours to surrender on Sunday. The head of the region Debretsion Gebremichael rejected the demands, saying that his people are "ready to die" for their homeland.

Thousands of people are already believed to have died and there has been widespread destruction from aerial bombardment and ground fighting since the war began on Nov. 4. Around 42,000 refugees have fled over the border to Sudan. TPLF rockets have hit neighbouring Eritrea.

On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch said both sides must avoid putting civilians in danger. The government's warning did not absolve it "of its duty to take constant care to protect civilians when carrying out military operations in urban areas".

"We are also concerned by reports that the TPLF has deployed its forces in heavily populated areas. They need to ensure the safety of civilians under their control," it said.

(Reporting by Addis Ababa newsroom and Omar Mohammed; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Tom Hogue, Raju Gopalakrishnan and Giles Elgood)

Ethiopia's Tigray region under intense bombardment .
The capital of Ethiopia's Tigray region, Mekelle, is under fierce bombardment, a humanitarian source on the ground and eyewitnesses who have fled the city told CNN on Saturday. © Eduardo Soteras/AFP/Getty Images ETHIOPIA-TIGRAY-CONFLICT-UNREST A damaged tank stands abandoned on a road near Humera, Ethiopia, on November 22, 2020. - Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, announced military operations in Tigray on November 4, 2020, saying they came in response to attacks on federal army camps by the party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

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