Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced on Thursday that he has authorised the country’s military to carry out the “final phase” of the operation in the northern region of Tigray where fighting has been going on for several weeks now against the TPLF.
Abiy’s said that he has directed the military to ensure that no civilians are harmed during the operation in the regional capital Mekelle – a city of 5,00,000 people – and urged residents to stay at home, the BBC reported.
The TPLF party, which controls Mekelle, has however said that will continue to fight on against the government forces.
Abiy’s announcement comes after a deadline he gave for Tigray fighters to surrender passed on Wednesday.
Detailed information about the fighting has been hard to come by as all phones, mobile services and internet communications with the Tigray region have been cut. But information trickling out from there said that 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.
The Ethiopian government has so far refused to accept any kind of foreign mediation, claiming that it is an internal matter of Ethiopia.