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World Ethiopia’s military begins offensive against capital of defiant Tigray region, local officials say

15:41  28 november  2020
15:41  28 november  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Both sides claim big wins as Ethiopia fighting enters third week

  Both sides claim big wins as Ethiopia fighting enters third week Both sides in Ethiopia's raging internal conflict claimed military successes on Wednesday, creating a muddied picture of fighting even as the government promised it would soon be over. A communications blackout in the northern Tigray region, where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has ordered military operations against the ruling party, has made it difficult to get a clear view of hostilities now entering their third week. "We're inflicting heavyA communications blackout in the northern Tigray region, where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has ordered military operations against the ruling party, has made it difficult to get a clear view of hostilities now entering their third week.

Gebremichael said the Ethiopian government forces had begun an offensive to capture the regional capital . Ethiopia ' s military "has started hitting with heavy weaponry and artillery the center of Mekelle," the local government said in a statement carried by Tigrayan media. Two humanitarian officials in

Ethiopia ' s prime minister ordered the army to attack the capital of the Tigray region after a 72-hour ultimatum for the region 's ruling He said that the forces would take "great care" to protect "innocent civilians" and called on people in the city to "disarm, stay at home and stay away from military targets".

Ethiopia’s military launched an assault on the capital of the northern Tigray region Saturday after last-minute diplomatic efforts by three former African presidents failed to persuade the fighting sides to reach a truce, according to the regional government and local media.

a group of people that are standing in the dirt: A Tigray boy who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region carries water at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif in eastern Sudan on Nov. 27, 2020. © Nariman El-Mofty/AP A Tigray boy who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region carries water at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif in eastern Sudan on Nov. 27, 2020.

The collapse in dialogue raised fears of civil war in Ethiopia and further instability and a growing humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa.

The offensive against Mekele — a normally peaceful city of 500,0000 — followed the end of a 72-hour ultimatum issued by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to rebelling leaders of the Tigray region to lay down arms after three weeks of unrest.

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.

The Ethiopian military will begin the "final phase" of an offensive in the northern Tigray region , according to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, after an ultimatum expired for Tigrayan forces to surrender. Key points: Ethiopian Government forces have been clashing with the Tigray People' s Liberation

The Ethiopian military has seized control of the town of Wikro, 50 km (30 miles) north of the Tigrayan capital , a senior official said on Friday, a day after the government said it was beginning the "final phase" of an offensive in the northern region . Federal forces have captured Wikro "and will control

Ethiopian forces “started hitting with heavy weaponry and artillery the center of Mekelle,” the local government said in a statement to Tigrayan media. Video of the claim also surfaced on Facebook, and two humanitarian groups with staff in the city confirmed the reports to AFP.

International concern mounted that Mekele’s half a million residents could get caught in the violence. More than 40,000 fled the area before government forces closed in on the city.

Debretsion Gebremichael, head of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), told Reuters that Mekele was under “heavy bombardment” on Saturday, adding that Ethiopian soldiers were using artillery.


Video: Ethiopia warns it may shell rebel capital (Reuters)

Billene Seyoum, a spokeswoman for the prime minister’s office, denied claims that Ethiopian forces were striking civilian areas. “The safety of Ethiopians in Makelle and Tigray region continues as priority for the federal government,” she said.

After escaping Ethiopia, mothers face giving birth in camps

  After escaping Ethiopia, mothers face giving birth in camps Like all mothers-to-be, Berekhti Burro dreamt of bringing new life into the world in a safe place, with love and care at home to give her baby the best start. But Burro, nine-months pregnant, was forced to flee intense fighting near her home in Humera in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, trekking for hours in the blazing sun to safety in neighbouring Sudan. Now the 27-year-old sits with her husband in their new home; a makeshift shelter in the rapidly growing tent-town of Um Raquba refugee camp, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the border.

Ethiopia ' s PM says the army's operation is in the final phase. "Thousands of Tigray militia and special force members have surrendered during the 72 The African Union, whose headquarters is based in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, wants to send three representatives to the region to try and

🇪🇹 # Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed has ordered government troops to attack # Tigray 's regional capital #Mekele after his 72-hour ultimatum In a statement. Ethiopia ' s Prime Minister said he had ordered government forces to make a final push for adding that the army would try to protect civilians

Claims from both sides have been impossible to verify during the conflict because phone and Internet connections have been down throughout the region and access to Mekele remains strictly controlled.

Hours before reports of blasts in the city emerged Saturday, Lieutenant-General Hassan Ibrahim said in a statement that Ethiopian forces had taken over Wikro, a town 30 miles of Mekele.

The city, he wrote, would be under control of federal forces within days.

The three African Union envoys who met with Abiy — Mozambique’s former president Joaquim Chissano, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and South Africa’s Kgalema Motlanthe — urged the Ethiopian leader this week to open dialogue with the rebelling TPLF.

He has publicly refused to take that step, calling the TPLF an illegal “clique” and an internal matter for Ethiopia to resolve on its own. (He barred the envoys from seeing TPLF commanders.)

Abiy won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize for ending a two-decade-long standoff with neighboring Eritrea.

Pope Francis was among those appealing for peace Saturday.

“I invite everyone to pray for #Ethiopia where armed clashes have intensified and are causing a serious humanitarian situation,” he tweeted. “I appeal to the parties in conflict so that the violence might ceases, life may be safeguarded and the populations can regain #peace.”

Ethiopia. Five questions to understand the conflict in the Tigray region .
© EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP A member of the Tigray police at a checkpoint in the suburb of the capital Mekele, September 9, 2020. An armed conflict rages on in the state of Tigray, in northern Ethiopia, since early November. It opposes the Ethiopian federal government and the regional government of Tigray. And pushes tens of thousands of Ethiopians to flee to neighboring Sudan. Explanations.

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