BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 A.M.) – The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, announced in a statement on Thursday that the army would begin the “final stage” of an offensive against the rebel forces in the Tigray region, hours after the deadline for the Tigrayans to surrender.
“The 72-hour deadline given to the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front to surrender peacefully has now passed, and our law enforcement campaign has reached its final stage,” Abiy Ahmed tweeted, adding that thousands of TPLF fighters had already surrendered.
African envoys went to Ethiopia on Wednesday in an attempt to resolve the crisis, hours before the deadline expired.
Meanwhile, human rights groups fear that any attack will lead to a large number of civilian casualties.
Thousands of people are believed to have died and widespread damage occurred as a result of aerial bombardment and ground fighting since the war began in the region on the 4th of November. About 42,000 people fled across the border into Sudan.