Tigray Leader Rejects Ethiopia’s Ultimatum That They Surrender Within 72 Hours

The leader of Ethiopia's Tigray region has rejected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's ultimatum that they surrender within 72 hours.

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The leader of Ethiopia’s dissident Tigray region says his people are “ready to die” defending their homeland, rejecting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s ultimatum that they surrender within 72 hours.

Abiy launched a military campaign against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) on November 4, accusing it of attacking two federal military camps in the northern region, as well as defying and seeking to destabilise his government.

The federal army says its forces are within 60 kilometres (37 miles) of Mekele, the Tigrayan capital and seat of the TPLF, ahead of a threatened all-out bombardment of the city of half a million people.

Abiy on Sunday called on the TPLF to surrender peacefully within three days, saying they were “at a point of no return”.

But the TPLF’s leader Debretsion Gebremichael said Abiy was trying to cover for setbacks his army had suffered against Tigrayan forces, and was issuing threats to buy time.

The army has threatened a “no mercy” tank assault on the TPLF leadership in Mekele, warning civilians to leave while they still can, raising concerns among rights activists.

Abiy has urged the people of Mekele to side with the national army against the TPLF, “in bringing this treasonous group to justice”.

Hundreds of people are reported to have been killed in nearly three weeks of fighting which has seen warplanes bomb the region and tanks enter the fray.

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