Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced Thursday that the final operation to take the capital of the rebellious Tigray province could now begin after a 72-hour ultimatum to surrender had expired.

Ethiopia’s military intervened in the rugged northern province after local forces there attacked an army base and made off with military equipment on Nov. 3, sparking a two-week military campaign that has seen federal forces take over much of Tigray.

With communications to the province cut it was impossible to verify whether the military operation against the regional capital of Mekelle had actually begun. Government forces said they had surrounded the city of 500,000 from a distance of 30 miles away.

600 civilians were killed in massacre in Tigray, Ethiopia’s rights commission says

“The Ethiopian National Defence forces have now been directed to conclude the third and final phase of our rule of law operation,” said the statement from the prime minister’s office. “We call on the people of Mekelle and its environs to disarm, stay at home and stay away from military targets, and take all necessary precautions.”

The government campaign is against the political party controlling the province, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, which once dominated the coalition that ruled the country for nearly 30 years. With the rise of Abiy, they retreated to their power base in Tigray and in recent months relations with the central government have declined dramatically.

The Ethiopian government has insisted its quarrel is only with the TPLF and not against the Tigrayan people.

In messages to media outlets, the TPLF leadership has insisted that government forces have suffered several defeats. The Ethiopian government has countered by reporting widespread surrenders among TPLF forces.

There has been widespread international concern about the ongoing campaign and calls for mediation that have been rejected by Abiy, who has said the operation is an internal matter.

At least 40,000 refugees have fled the fighting into neighboring Sudan and there have been reports of hundreds of civilians massacred.

After fleeing to Sudan, Ethiopians from Tigray recount brutal killings

Ethiopia conflict escalates as army sends more troops to Tigray region

Ethiopia sends troops into renegade northern province as long-simmering tensions explode

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Most Democrats fear Trump could reject election defeat, poll shows

Three in four supporters of Democratic challenger Joe Biden are worried about the prospect of Donald Trump rejecting the US presidential election result if it goes against him, an Opinium Research poll for the Guardian shows. The survey underlined fears…

Ukraine admits fears over Russian influence in Belarus as Minsk claims foreign powers trying to separate country from Moscow

Kuleba admitted that the present situation is likely to lead to a “strengthening of Russia,” listing some scenarios Kiev views as a threat: “If Belarus is absorbed by Russia within the Union State, or if a person under full control…

LeBron James considered playing football during 2011 NBA lockout: report

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what’s clicking on Foxnews.com. LeBron James was close to following in the footsteps of Michael Jordan during the 2011 NBA lockout, revealing Monday that he had considered a career in the…

No need to close France/Italy borders over coronavirus – French minister

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – French junior transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said on Monday that he saw no need to close down transport borders between France and Italy, despite the spread of coronavirus. “Closing down the borders would make no sense, as…