Ethiopia Tigray Crisis: Abiy Issues ‘Ultimatum’ As Civilians Flee Fighting

Ethiopia's prime minister has said a military operation against rebel forces in the northern Tigray region is entering its "final phase".

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Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said a military operation against rebel forces in the northern Tigray region is entering its “final phase, stating that a three-day deadline given for Tigray’s forces to surrender had now expired.

Hundreds of people have reportedly died in nearly two weeks of clashes between the rebels and the federal army. At least 27,000 people have fled to Sudan.

The UN’s refugee agency UNHCR, has said that “a full-scale humanitarian crisis is unfolding” and thousands have been fleeing the fighting.

Fighting broke out on 4 November after Ethiopia’s central government accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a political party which controls Tigray, of holding an illegal election and attacking a military base to steal weapons. The TPLF has denied the attack.

In response, Mr Abiy ordered a military offensive against forces loyal to the regional government of Tigray, accusing them of treason. He said that “the last red line had been crossed”.

The TPLF sees the central government as illegitimate, arguing Mr Abiy does not have a mandate to lead the country after postponing national elections because of coronavirus.

Regional powers Kenya and Uganda have called for negotiations to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict but The Ethiopian government has, however, ruled out talks with the TPLF.

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