Tag Archives: Mekelle

Ethiopia 10M reward for TPLF ‘wanted’

Brussels 19.12.2020 Ethiopian authorities offered a 10 million birr (app.€200,000) reward on Friday, December 18, for information on the location of the heads of the leading party in northern Tigray region. The reward for information, leading to the key figures of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) was announced on state-run broadcaster EBC and tweeted by a government taskforce.

TPLF leaders, highly likely hiding in surrounding the capital city Mekelle mountains since they abandoned it on Novembrer 28, had insist that they continue resistance.

Thousands of people are believed to have been killed and nearly a million fled their homes after two years of feuding between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and the Tigray region degraded in a military assault in early November.

Aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian crisis unfolding in Tigray, where about 600,000 people were depended on food aid even before the conflict erupted.

The United Nations and other agencies are still pressing for safe access to most of the Tigray region.

The U.N. World Food Programme sent 11 trucks worth of food to two Eritrean refugee camps in the southern part of Tigray that arrived in the camps on Wednesday, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

Despite the arrival of some aid, needs are increasing, OCHA spokesman Saviano Abreu said. “People have now been living for more than six weeks with no running water, no access to health services, no cash and very limited access to food.”

He said the United Nations was still negotiating with the Ethiopian government for full and unhindered access and reiterated the global body’s call for all parties to allow all aid groups into Tigray.

There are no possibilities to re-establish contacts with Tigray journalists, because Abiy Ahmed has blocked telecom, in spite of the repeated calls from international community to reconnect all of Tigray.
Over six weeks the population of the region suffers consequences of shutdown of telecom, absence of humanitarian aid, food, fuel, medicine, portable water, electricity, and bank services. All contacts of Africa Diplomatic Magazine from Mekelle have been silent for six weeks.

Tigray protests in Mekelle

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.

Tigray crisis swells

Brussels 03.12.2020 Humanitarian agencies and NGOs in Ethiopia prepared convoys on Thursday, December 3, to transport aid into Tigray region, where during an assault of governmental forces thousands of people are feared to be killed, and tens of thousands have been forced to flee to neighbouring Sudan .

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared victory over the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) after federal forces entered the northern region’s capital Mekelle.

On contrary the TPLF leaders said they have ton surrendered, but retreated into surrounding mountains in an emerging guerrilla strategy. “The war is a people’s war and will not end easily,” its spokesman Gebre Gebretsadkan said on Tigray TV, adding that fighting had continued round Mekelle, a city of half-a-million inhabitants.

According to the refugees there are ongoing clashes to the north, south and west of the Tigray region capital. In the context of the ban for press to enter the region there is a growing concern about the degradation of the situation for the civilians there, but also an urgent need to have an access of the journalists there to provide the first-hand information.

Diplomats in Addis Ababa say thousands of combatants and civilians have died since Abiy’s offensive began on November 4, after he referred to an alleged TPLF attack on a military base was the last straw in their argument. At present around 50 000 refugees have crossed into neighbouring Sudan, while many more have been displaced within Tigray region.

The refugees share harrowing stories about corpses which are left to decay along the roads, presumable the refugees, who failed to reach Sudan.

Mekelle shrouded in unknown

Brussels 29.11.2020 While the EU multiples its calls for peace in Tigray region, the Ethiopian government launched a manhunt on Sunday, November 29, for leaders of the political leadership of The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) after announcing Federal troops had taken over the regional capital Mekelle and the military operations were completed. In the context of an issued by the government ban of journalists to enter the area, and shutdown of the internet upon the Federal government orders, the narratives of refugees fleeing to Sudan remain the major source of information about the situation in Tigray.

However, TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael has communicated a message to the world that TPLF forces would fight on, raising the prospect that the violent episode could become a protracted regional conflict, destabilising the entire Horn of Africa, home to more than 200 million people.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed government has been at odds with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a powerful regional party that dominated the central Ethiopian government from 1991 until Abiy came to power in 2018. However the crisis has unfolded when the TPLF has refused the prolongation of the Prime-minister terms under the pretext of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the evening, November 28, Abiy Ahmend said federal troops had taken control of the Tigrayan capital Mekelle within hours of launching an offensive there, causing grave concerns over the protracted street fighting and shelling in the city of 500,000 people.

The Prime minister, who refers to the three-week-old conflict as an internal law and order matter and has bluntly refused international offers of mediation, said Federal police will try to arrest TPLF “criminals” and bring them to court.

Meanwhile the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) expressed their deep concern by the current armed conflict between the Federal government of Ethiopia and the regional administration of Tigray led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), including the ongoing violence and allegations of serious breaches of fundamental human rights. They call on both parties to commit to an immediate ceasefire and to settle political differences by democratic means within the framework of the country’s constitution.

The resolution deplores the loss of life and killing of innocent civilians and the extrajudicial killings, regardless of their perpetrators. Parliament implores Ethiopia’s central government and the TPLF to take immediate action to deescalate the conflict and criticises the severe restrictions preventing humanitarian workers from accessing the area.

The text was adopted by 643 votes in favour, 5 against and 46 abstentions.

Ethiopia: troops advance towards Mekelle

The Ethiopian government said on November 24 that Tigrayan soldiers were surrendering in the face of its advance towards the regional capital Mekelle (pictured), but the local forces reported they were resisting and had destroyed a significant army division.

Hundreds of civilians have died,, and there has been widespread destruction and uprooting of people from homes in the northern Tigray region, and more than 40,000 refugees have fled to Sudan.

However the information about events on the ground is impossible to verify, because there press is denied access to the Tigray region, which is deprived of electricity after power station bombing, and internet shutdown ordered by the federal government, as a part of their offensive against Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has underlined that many Tigrayan combatants had responded to an ultimatum to lay down arms before a threatened offensive against Mekelle city, with half a million inhabitants. The deadline expires on November 25.

“Using the government’s 72-hour period, a large number of Tigray militia and special forces are surrendering,” the federal government taskforce said.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which dominates in the region of more than 5 million people, gave a different insights of events, saying their troops were keeping federal forces at bay and scoring some successful military counter-attacks.

Their spokesman Getachew Reda said an important army unit – which he termed the 21st mechanised division – was destroyed in an assault at Raya-Wajirat led by a former commander of that unit now fighting for the TPLF.

Abiy Ahmed sends troops to Mekelle

Brussels 22.11.2020 Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced the expiration of a three-day ultimatum for Tigrayan leaders to surrender, and from that moment aimed at sending federal troops to Mekelle, the Tigray region capital. (Image: Tigray refugees in Sudan, source: social media).

“We urge you to surrender peacefully within 72 hours, recognising that you are at the point of no return,” Abiy wrote in a Twitter message on Sunday evening. There was no immediate comment from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which leads Tigray region.

Abiy’s statement came hours after an Ethiopian spokesman said the army plans to surround Mekelle with tanks and may attack it with artillery to end a nearly three-week war, urging civilians to “save themselves”.