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Tigray official urges ceasefire as rebels enter regional capital

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Members of Amhara region militias ride on a truck as they head to face the TPLF, in Sanja, Amhara region near a border with Tigray, on November 9, 2020 - (Reuters photo)

June 28, 2021 (MEKELLE) – An official of the State Interim Administration of Ethiopia’s Tigray region has called for ceasefire as Tigrayan fighters began entering the regional capital, Mekelle.

On Monday, rebel fighters better known as Tigray Defence Forces started advancing Mekelle after Ethiopian government troops retreated from the regional city.

Thousands of residents, New York Times reported, took to the streets on Monday night, waving flags and shooting off fireworks after hearing that Tigrayan forces had advanced to the city.

The Ethiopian national army had occupied the Tigray region since last November, after invading in cooperation with Eritrean and militia forces to take full control from the regional government.

But the Tigray Interim Administration Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Abraham Belay has called for ceasefire in the northern region in the light of the upcoming rainy season agricultural activities.

The ceasefire, he said, seeks to facilitate a conducive environment for the agricultural activities and ongoing humanitarian activities in the region.

The decision for the call of the ceasefire came after continuous consultations were conducted with representatives of the communities in the region, regional and zonal officials and scholars of the region and inventors and other segments of societies originating from Tigray, said Belay.

“Some factions of the terrorist TPLF [Popular Struggle for the Freedom of Tigray] have shown interest to resort to peaceful settlement of the problem in the region,” he stressed.

In recent weeks, the Tigray Defense Forces have reportedly captured areas south of Mekelle that were held by Ethiopian forces or militias allied with them.

Meanwhile, refugees and international observers have accused the invading forces of wide-ranging atrocities, including ethnic cleansing, and of pushing the region to the brink of famine.

(ST)

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