Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis: PM declares assault on regional capital Mekelle

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says he is launching the “final phase” of the army’s operation in Tigray with an attack on the regional capital, Mekelle.

He said the military would try not to harm civilians and urged people in the city to stay at home.

It comes after a deadline he gave for Tigray fighters to surrender passed on Wednesday.

The TPLF party, which controls Mekelle, has vowed to keep fighting.

Hundreds of people have reportedly been killed and thousands have been forced from their homes as Ethiopian forces have seized various towns in Tigray from the TPLF.

However, details of the fighting are hard to confirm because all phone, mobile and internet communications with the Tigray region have been cut.

What did PM Abiy say?

He ordered the Ethiopian military to launch an offensive on Mekelle – a city of about 500,000 people – in the “third and final phase” of the federal government’s military campaign against the TPLF.

Mr Abiy said “great care” would be taken to protect civilians and “all efforts” would be made to limit damage to Mekelle.

 

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