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Ethiopian federal forces 'edge closer' to Tigray regional capital

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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 24 (Infosplusgabon) - Ethiopia's government says its forces are closing in on the Tigray Regional capital, Mekelle, as fighting between the two sides intensifies, a government source said.

 

The Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) quoted the Ethiopia State Emergency Fact Check as saying "the National Defence Force is edging closer to Mekelle ... by taking control of the nearest town Edaga Hamus today (Sunday)".

 

It added: "The army is marching to Mekelle which is the final target of the law enforcement operation."

 

Last week, the government said the National Defence Force "liberated Shire, Axum, Adwa and Adigrat". The Federal Government asked leaders of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), for whom arrest warrants have been issued, to "peacefully surrender" and to refrain from engaging in further atrocities.

 

“The Federal Government would like to reiterate its commitment to bring to justice those responsible for such heinous crimes,” it said.

 

“As we enter the final phase of the law enforcement operation against the criminal clique within TPLF, we would like to remind the leaders of this group that the atrocities that have been committed by their forces and loyalists in places like Maykadra constitute serious crimes both under Ethiopian and international law,” Ethiopia State of Emergency Fact Check stated.

 

The Ethiopian Attorney General has already frozen the assets of 34 organizations affiliated to TPLF, ENA reported.

 

The organizations have allegedly financed the TPLF and been involved in criminal corrupt practices.

 

The National Defence Force started marching on Mekelle on Tuesday after a deadline for rebel forces to surrender passed.

 

The Addis Ababa government says the Federal intervention was a mechanism of protecting and defending the constitutional order.

 

Some 30,000 Ethiopians have been forced to flee the fighting, with the UN saying that some 4,000 people a day are streaming into Sudan.

 

Violence erupted at the start of November in Tigray involving federal and local forces, following the reported takeover of an army base in the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle, which prompted the prime minister to order a military offensive.

 

Prior to the Tigray escalation, dozens of people in western Oromia region were killed and injured in attacks.

 

The Ethiopian Federal Government has also declared a six-month state of emergency in the Tigray Region, whose government is controlled by TPLF.

 

The TPLF has accused Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is from Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, of forcing them out of the government and security posts since taking office in 2018.

 

 

FIN/ INFOSPLUSGABON/OPL/GABON2020

 

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