African Union to Send Envoys to Mediate Ethiopian Conflict

Cheryl Sanders
November 22, 2020

The government has launched an offensive in the region in response.

The Government of Ethiopia has denied that it was into talks on how to end the conflict in the Northern Tigray region of the country as hostilities heighten.

The agency also said the national army had captured a string of towns in Tigray, including the ancient city of Aksum and Adigrat, 117 kilometres (73 miles) north of Mekele.

But the rebels have said his Government has marginalised Tigrayans since taking office two years ago, removing them from senior roles in government and the military and detaining many on rights abuse and corruption charges.

Redwan Hussein, a spokesperson for the Government's taskforce on Tigray, contrasted with Colonel Tsegaye's threats of "no mercy", and said there was still time for TPLF leaders to surrender.

According to Reuters, it's hard to verify the current positions of the forces, as internet and phone lines have been down since the conflict began.

The spokesman for Ethiopia's government military forces said on Sunday that they will "use tanks, artillery" to capture the city of Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region, from TPLF forces.

Addis Ababa has launched a security operation against the forces, calling the TPLF a "military junta".

Hundreds, possibly thousands of people have been killed, more than 30,000 refugees have fled into Sudan, and Tigrayan forces have fired rockets at Ethiopia's Amhara region and the neighbouring nation of Eritrea.

Militia members from Ethiopia's Amhara region ride on their truck as they head to face the Tigray People's Liberation Front in Sanja, Amhara region, near a border with Tigray, Ethiopia, Nov. 9, 2020.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock earlier expressed his concerns about humanitarian situation in northern Ethiopia.

"Encircling Mekelle is their plan but yet they couldn't", he said.

Abiy, who won last year's Nobel Peace Prize for a peace deal with neighboring Eritrea, has said he wants to remove the TPLF leaders before negotiations.

The UN Refugee Agency estimated that up to 200,000 people could take refuge in eastern Sudan in the coming six months if instability in Tigray continues, Dujarric said.

The United Nations and other aid agencies have said the conflict is creating a humanitarian crisis in Tigray, where many among the more than 5 million population were already displaced and relying on food aid even before the conflict.

The prime minister drew plaudits for opening up Ethiopia's closed economy and repressive political system after taking office.

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