Ethiopia’s Tigray Crisis: Pm Declares Assault On Regional Capital Mekelle

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says he is launching the “final phase” of the army’s operation in the northern region of Tigray after weeks of fighting.

He said the military would try not to harm civilians in the regional capital Mekelle – a city of 500,000 people – and urged residents to stay at home.

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

The UN warns of possible war crimes if the Ethiopian army attacks Mekelle.

UN human rights chief Michele Bachelet said the city’s inhabitants were in deep peril. They are really alarmed by the dangerous situation particularly because of the civilians trapped in Mekelle, adding that, there was potential for serious violations of international humanitarian human rights law.

Mr Abiy’s announcement comes after a deadline he gave for Tigray fighters to surrender passed on Wednesday.

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.

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

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