BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:50 P.M.) – The Ethiopian army managed to enter the capital of the Tigray region, Mekele, as part of the final stage of military operations against the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front forces.
The Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation quoted the Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali, as saying that the government forces entered the capital city and were received well by the local population.
The Ethiopian Army Chief of Staff, Berhanu Gula Febian, said in a statement posted on the army’s official Facebook page on Saturday evening that the Ethiopian federal forces had “completely taken control” of Mekele, the capital of Tigray region.
The authorities said earlier in the day that government forces are in the final stage of an attack on the region and will spare no effort to protect civilians in Mekele, which is home to about half a million people.
There was no immediate comment from the Tigrayan forces fighting government troops in the northern region.
The dispute escalated between the central government and the people of Tigray region after the leaders of the region held elections, which the Tigray Front won all seats, which was considered by Parliament as an unconstitutional process.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, announced about 3 weeks ago, war on the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigrayans, after he said that it had attacked an army camp and tried to steal its equipment.
The conflict has killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, on both sides, prompted tens of thousands to flee to Sudan and raised doubts about the reputation of Ahmed, Africa’s youngest leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2019, for concluding a peace agreement with Eritrea.