Ethiopia crisis: Aid agencies call for immediate ceasefire in Tigray

Warring Sides in Ethiopia Both Claim They Are Winning

Earlier this week, Ethiopia's forces captured two towns in Tigray and Mr Abiy said that his army was advancing on the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle.

"My suspicion is they were targeting the Amhara Mass Media Agency, the airport and a telecommunications tower that is nearby", Gizachew said.

The TPLF has already claimed rocket attacks on airports in the Amhara region, in Bahir Dar and Gondar, as well as at the capital of neighbouring Eritrea, both around a week ago.

Abiy, last year's Nobel Peace Prize victor, announced the military campaign in Tigray on November 4, saying it was in response to TPLF attacks on federal military camps.

The government has accused the TPLF of destroying four bridges leading into Mekele.

The Ethiopian government's statement comes a day after it issued arrest warrants for 76 military officials said to be affiliated with the Tigray leadership.

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The TPLF led the overthrow of Mengistu Hailemariam, head of Ethiopia's military Derg regime, in 1991 and dominated politics for three decades until the arrival of Abiy who was appointed in 2018.

The party has complained about being sidelined under Abiy, and scapegoated for the country's woes.

"At this point neither party, from everything we hear, is interested in mediation", said Tibor Nagy, the top United States diplomat for Africa. The TPLF infuriated Abiy's government when it objected to the pandemic-related postponement of national elections until next year and held its own election in September.

"There may be massive displacement inside Tigray and that is of course a concern and we try to prepare the best way possible", Jens Laerke, spokesman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said.


The government did not immediately respond to requests for comment although it has previously denied bombing civilian targets.

The Ethiopian military had accused Ghebreyesus of siding with rebels led by the Tigray People's Liberation Front as the country nears civil war.

Tedros denied the accusation on Twitter, saying, "I am on only one side and that is the side of peace".

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered military operations in the northern region in a dramatic escalation of a long-running feud with TPLF, which has rejected his authority to govern.

Survivors of the reported attack told Amnesty researchers that militias affiliated to the local Tigray government killed scores or even hundreds of civilians, some of whom were ethnic Amharas.

But Tigray's leaders hit back, claiming to be "inflicting heavy defeats" and insisting they would not surrender.

"This is a time where we can fight with a button".

"So, one of the air force capabilities we're fighting with. are UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)".

A communications blackout in Tigray has made claims hard to verify, but the overall death toll is believed to be in the hundreds.

Thousands of refugees have fled Africa's second-most populous country, some crowding into boats to cross a river to Sudan, overwhelming aid groups positioned on the other side.

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