The liberation front militants entered Tigray The regional capital, on Monday, after the government of Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, fled.
The Tigray Liberation Front said: “We took control of the capital of the region and Ahmed’s forces were expelled,” while the government of Ethiopia called for a ceasefire after the fall of the Tigray capital.
According to official media, Ethiopia announced a “unilateral” ceasefire in Tigray.
Earlier, the interim administration in Ethiopia’s Tigray region asked the federal government for a ceasefire to allow the delivery of much-needed aid after nearly eight months of war, while residents in the regional capital, Mekele, said Ethiopian soldiers were leaving the city.
The announcement of the interim administration, appointed by the Ethiopian federal government, came amid some of the fiercest fighting in the conflict, and some residents of the Tigray capital, Mekele, expected the arrival of the Tigray Liberation Front forces.
Amid the uncertainty, the UN Children’s Agency said Ethiopian soldiers entered its office in Mekele and dismantled satellite communications equipment, an act it said violated the world body’s immunity.
The agency warned last week that at least 33,000 children were severely malnourished and at “imminent risk of death” without more aid reaching the Tigray people.
Displaced from Tigray (Reuters)
The interim administration stated that the ceasefire was necessary for humanitarian reasons and “to avoid further harm.” Its president, Abraham Pillay, told the state-owned Ethiopian News Agency that the call is now coming because the crucial planting season is approaching and aid should be delivered to the hungry.
“The government has the responsibility to find a political solution to the problem,” Pillay said, adding that some elements within the former ruling Tigray Party are willing to engage with the federal government.
Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, and international pressure on Ethiopia escalated again last week after a military airstrike on a crowded market in Tigray killed more than 60 people.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people are now facing famine conditions as eyewitnesses confirm that fighters have looted crops and other food sources.