Former governors of Ethiopia’s Tigre region said on Tuesday they were conducting a “clearance” campaign against the withdrawal of Ethiopian government forces from the capital Mekele, and that the city was back “100 percent” under control.
“The active conflict in Mikkele ended 25 minutes ago,” Tigre People’s Liberation Front spokesman Getachev Reda told Reuters news agency by phone on Tuesday morning.
He added: “Our forces are still in strong pursuit in the south and east.”
There had been no comment from the Ethiopian prime minister or the Ethiopian military as of this writing.
People in Mekele, the capital of Tigre in northern Ethiopia, celebrate the victory of rebel forces, who recaptured the city in a swift attack on Monday.
Fishha Tesema, an adviser to the Tigre People’s Liberation Front, told the BBC that the Ethiopian army had suffered a crushing defeat.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he had spoken to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and he hoped for an early end of hostilities and moving towards a political solution.
Eight months after the prime minister sent troops to launch a military operation in the region, the Ethiopian government announced a unilateral ceasefire in the Tigre region.
This came in conjunction with eyewitness accounts of anti-government forces taking control of Mekele, the capital of the Tigre.
All sides of the conflict have been accused of mass murders and human rights abuses.
The United Nations says more than 5 million people are in dire need of food aid, and 350,000 are at risk of starvation.
Why is there controversy in Tigre?
Ethiopia’s central government launched an offensive in the Tigre region last November to overthrow the Tigre People’s Liberation Front ruling party in the region at the time.
There was a major dispute between the party and the head of the central government, Abiy Ahmed, over political change in this country, which is based on a federal system of government based on ethnicity. One of the most important objectives of the Ethiopian government to launch its offensive in the region was the Tigre People’s Liberation Front’s control of military bases in the region.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Abiy Ahmed announced late last November that the conflict was over, but fighting continued despite these statements.
Thousands died in the conflict and tens of thousands of tigresses fled to Sudan.
There are allegations of human rights violations on both sides of the Ethiopian conflict.
The Tigre People’s Liberation Front joined other armed groups in the region with the aim of forming the Tigre Defense Force.
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