Ethiopia Starts Tigray Cease-Fire After Rebels Retake Capital

Ethiopia’s government began implementing a cease-fire in the war-ravaged Tigray after rebel fighters entered the state capital and celebrated retaking the city.

The announcement came after widespread reports that Ethiopia’s national army incurred heavy losses in several locations across the region and were pushed back in multiple locations after the Tigrayan rebels changed strategy and began an offensive after months of guerrilla-style warfare.

Tigray Defense Forces troops entered Mekelle on Monday evening after making territorial gains over the past week.

Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said the government halted hostilities after a request was made to federal authorities by the region’s interim government appointed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in November.

“The federal government understands that the people of Tigray, especially those in rural areas, have suffered greatly,” the ministry said, citing an invasion of desert locusts, the Covid-19 pandemic, mass displacement and the interruption of farming because of the eighth-month conflict.

It was the first time the government has admitted that humanitarian workers face challenges “to reach all areas in the region to deliver urgently needed humanitarian assistance to those in need and avert the potential risk of serious food insecurity.”

So far there’s been no reaction to the Ethiopian government’s new stance by neighboring Eritrea, whose troops have played a major role in the conflict and have been accused of human-rights abuses including rape, extrajudicial killings and other atrocities.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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