Brussels 04.12.2020 The leader of Ethiopia’s Tigray region forces said that protests were breaking out in Mekelle, the capital, which fell according to central government to federal troops days ago, claiming to conclude the military operation which lasted for a month. The the context of the ongoing ban issued in Addis-Ababa prohibiting journalists to enter the region, and internet blackout, there are no press reports on the situation available at the moment to confirm the claims of the warring parties. (Image: barricades in Mekelle, source social media).
Debretsion Gebremichael, who is leading the TPLF, told Reuters news agency in a text message on December 4 that there were popular protests in Mekelle, which is home to 500,000 people, due to looting by Eritrean soldiers.
“Eritrean soldiers are everywhere,” he said, repeating an accusation that President Isaias Afwerki has sent soldiers over the border to back Abiy (Ahmed) against their mutual foe. Both Ethiopia and Eritrea have denied that.
On contrary to Tigray announcement, the Ethiopian state TV showed images of people shopping and sitting on stools in Mekelle, while the new government-appointed chief executive of Tigray said peace was returning to the area.
The combat between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s federal army and regional forces loyal to ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), has erupted on November 4.
While there is an international media ban to enter Tigray region, claims from both sides have can not be verified, however according to the stories of the refugees who have crossed to neighbouring Sudan, there are thousands of killed civilians, whose corpses are exposed to decay.
TPLF leaders with the loyalists, who have enjoyed strong popular support for years in Tigray, were reported to retreat from Mekelle to the surrounding mountains and launched a guerrilla strategy response to the federal troops.