Ethiopian troops marching on Tigray
November 18, 2020 - Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed says his army is advancing on the Tigrayan capital Mekelle, where local militias are fighting the central government.
The government accused Tigray's forces of destroying bridges near the city of Mekelle to halt the advance.
Hundreds of people have reportedly died in nearly two weeks of clashes. Verifying information from Tigray is hard due to a blackout on most communications.
The United Nations warned of a “full-scale humanitarian crisis” with refugees fleeing and people in Tigray starting to go hungry.
Abiy, Africa’s youngest leader and the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, launched air strikes and a ground offensive on Nov 4 after accusing ex-comrades and the local ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), of armed revolt.
Tigrayan leaders say Abiy, who comes from Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group the Oromo, has persecuted and purged them from government and security posts since taking office in 2018.
Abiy continues to reject international pleas for dialogue and de-escalation in the conflict that has spilled into neighbouring Eritrea and sent around 30,000 frightened Ethiopian refugees pouring into Sudan.