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Ethiopia declares end to offensive in Tigray

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmen has declared an end to the military offensive on Tigray, although observers suggested on Sunday that this might not spell the end of the conflict.

Nairobi, 29 November 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmen has declared an end to the military offensive on Tigray, although observers suggested on Sunday that this might not spell the end of the conflict.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Saturday that the country’s armed forces have taken the capital of the Tigray region, Mekelle and that the central government had taken full control of the city.

However, “what comes next is more uncertain,” Murithi Mutiga of the International Crisis Group think tank told dpa.

While the TPLF has withdrawn from Mekelle and other cities, it still has the the firepower and military expertise to keep fighting Ethiopian forces, he said.

Also, many people in Tigray felt marginalized by Abiy’s government. “The central question is whether Tigrayans can be convinced they belong within Ethiopia,” Mutiga said.

Meanwhile, explosions have occurred in the capital of neighbouring Eritrea, according to the US embassy.

On Saturday evening, six explosions shook Asmara, the embassy in Asmara said and advised US citizens in Eritrea to stay at home and be vigilant because of the ongoing conflict in the Tigray region in neighbouring Ethiopia.

The background to the explosions was initially unclear. However, in the wake of the conflict in Tigray, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fired rockets at Eritrea a few weeks ago on the grounds that air strikes were being carried out on the TPLF from Asmara airport.

In early November, the Ethiopian government launched an offensive against the TPLF, which is in power in the northern region of Tigray.

On Saturday, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that Tigray’s capital, Mekelle, had been captured and the offensive had ended. The TPLF initially did not respond to this claim.

The background to the conflict in the Horn of Africa is growing tensions between Tigray and the central government.

The TPLF dominated Ethiopia for more than 25 years until Abiy came to power in 2018 and ousted it.

Many people in Tigray feel that they are not represented by the central government and are demanding more autonomy.

In the multi-ethnic state of Ethiopia with its around 112 million inhabitants, there are a number of ethnic tensions that have increased under Abiy, a Nobel peace laureate, who received the prize last year for making peace with Eritrea.

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