The Ethiopian government accepts a temporary ceasefire after fighters from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF) seized control of the capital of the insurgent region of Tigray. Officials and the interim government fled, while witnesses said people were partying in the regional capital of Mekelle. “Everyone is dancing outside. “
The rebel movement’s request for a ceasefire is accepted with immediate effect, the Addis Ababa government said. The tranquility should allow farmers to harvest safely and relieve without obstacles. The harvest season ends in September.
The Ethiopian armed forces have controlled the capital of the northern region since the end of November. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said at the time that the time for humanitarian aid and reconstruction had come and that the management of the TPLF “clique” would be the responsibility of the police. Meanwhile, the conflict raged.
Mekelle, the real power base of the TPLF, is located about 500 kilometers north of the capital Addis Ababa in federal Ethiopia. The Tigrayans make up around 6% of the population, but dominated the country for 27 years with their TPLF, a former guerrilla movement that helped overthrow the Communist dictatorship in 1991.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for resolving border disputes with neighboring Eritrea, belongs to the largest ethnic group, the Oromo, who make up almost 35% of the population over of 100 million inhabitants.
UN chief Antonio Guterres said after a phone conversation with Ahmed that he hoped the fighting would end. The Secretary General described the situation in Tigray as extremely worrying.
In August last year, the feud between the government and the TPLF escalated, leading to elections. A federal army base in Mekelle was attacked in early November, but Addis Ababa regained control of the regional capital later in the month.
Since then, thousands of people have died. Eritrean soldiers who came to the aid of Ethiopian troops also claimed many lives. According to the UN, 350,000 people are facing famine because of the conflict. Most of the 5.5 million inhabitants of Tigray are in need of food assistance.
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