Ethiopia's Prime Minister Gives Tigray Forces 72 Hours To Surrender; 200,000 Refugees Expected In Sudan

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Gives Tigray Forces 72 Hours To Surrender; 200,000 Refugees Expected In Sudan

Ethiopia’s prime minister gives Tigray forces 72 hours to surrender as the country’s government troops move toward the capital, Mekelle. 

For those who may not know: there’s a huge conflict happening between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the regional party, and Ethiopia’s central government. Things erupted after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed postponed a national election due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and because of that, the TPLF no longer wants to see the central government as legit because they feel Ahmed doesn’t have power anymore. 

On Nov. 4, Ahmed announced an operation against the TPLF, accusing the group of attacking the army’s northern command headquarters in Mekelle, BBC reports. The tension between the forces has killed hundreds and moved thousands in the last few weeks. Ahmed now says the issue is “at a point of no return.” The United Nations reportedly warned that the division could turn into a humanitarian crisis. 

A spokesperson says, “there will be no mercy,” as the Ethiopian military sent out a PSA to Mekelle’s 500,000 residents mentioning that the army would “encircle” the city and attack it with artillery fire, BBC reports. The government says that it gained control over key towns last week, but BBC reports that those claims cannot be confirmed at this time. 

In a statement on Sunday, Ahmed wrote to the TPLF leadership, saying: “Your journey of destruction is coming to an end, and we urge you to surrender peacefully within the next 72 hours, recognizing you are at a point of no return. Take this last opportunity.” He added that TPLF forces should “surrender peacefully” and that the population of Mekelle should support government forces “in bringing this treasonous group to justice.”

To end the conflict, South Africa President and African Union chairman Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday that he would appoint three former presidents to figure out what to do. However, Ethiopia has reportedly declined the offer, saying it sees the operation as an internal “law enforcement” mission. “We don’t negotiate with criminals… We bring them to justice, not to the negotiating table,” Mamo Mihretu, a senior aide to Ahmed, told the BBC. ”Our African brothers and sisters would play a more significant role if they put pressure on TPLF to surrender, and for that, you know, nobody needs to go to Tigray or Mekelle to make that point clear to them.”

At least 33,000 refugees have traveled to Sudan to escape the violence in their native land. The U.N. said that it expects at least 200,000 people to arrive over the next six months if the conflict continues, BBC reports.


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