Interim Government of Tigray Flees as Rebels Seize Capital

Spokesperson for Tigray People’s Liberation Front says Mekelle is ‘under our control’

File photo of a street in Mekelle, capital of the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia. Photograph: Maggie Fick/Reuters

Emmanuel Akinwotu

Mon 28 Jun 2021 15.00 EDT

The interim government of Ethiopia’s war-hit Tigray region has fled as rebel fighters advanced into the region’s capital and the national government announced a “unilateral ceasefire”.

Witnesses said federal soldiers and police were also abandoning Mekelle late on Monday, and fireworks and celebratory gunfire could be heard as Tigrayan fighters took the city’s airport and other key positions.

“The capital of Tigray, Mekelle, is under our control,” Getachew Reda, the spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), told Reuters by satellite phone late on Monday.

One local official told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the interim local government opted to leave their posts in Mekelle as rebel fighters closed in “on every side”.

“Everybody has left. The last ones left in the afternoon. The region doesn’t have a government,” said the official. “It looks like from the way the community is reacting that … perhaps the troops have retreated from here.”

Shortly after news broke of the rebels’ advance, Ethiopia’s government declared an immediate, unilateral ceasefire in the region.

The ceasefire “will enable farmers to till their land, aid groups to operate without any military movement around and engage with remnants (of Tigray’s former ruling party) who seek peace”, Ethiopia’s statement said, adding that efforts to bring Tigray’s former leaders to justice continued.

Ethiopia said the ceasefire would last until the end of the crucial planting season in Tigray. The season’s end comes in September. The government ordered all federal and regional authorities to respect the ceasefire.

UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, said in a statement that he had spoken with Abiy, adding: “I am hopeful that an effective cessation of hostilities will take place.”

Humanitarian staff in Mekelle confirmed the departure of interim administration officials. “The interim officials left this morning,” said the humanitarian official in the city. Monday’s developments marked a dramatic turn in the nearly eight-month-old conflict.

The British embassy in Ethiopia said the ceasefire was an “important development” and called on all parties to respect it.

Federal troops invaded Tigray in November, sparking global outrage and condemnation of Nobel Peace Prize winner and prime minister, Abiy Ahmed. The government said it had acted after rebel attacks on military bases, and the TPLF, which formerly ruled Ethiopia for nearly three decades, was ousted within six weeks.

'I saw people dying on the road': Tigray's traumatised war refugees

Millions of civilians fled into neighbouring Sudan, amid fears of a spiralling ethnic conflict and widespread reports of atrocities which could amount to war crimes.

The rebel fighters, known as Tigrayan Defence Forces (TDF), appeared to have been subdued, but in recent weeks they launched a series of counter-offensives, with a surge in fighting which coincided with Ethiopia’s national elections earlier this month.

Residents had reported rebels advancing as close to within 55 kilometres of the city, with the rebels boasting of inflicting major losses on federal forces. The polls were not held in Tigray.

Last week, residents reported that flights to Mekelle were restricted, and as fighting intensified, officials were said to be denying permits for aid operations in towns outside of the city.

The ongoing conflict, a grinding guerrilla war, has triggered a rapidly worsening humanitarian crisis with 350,000 people on the brink of famine according to the UN, with 140,000 children “facing famine-like conditions”.

Last week at least 64 people were killed and 180 injured in a government airstrike on a market in the city of Togoga, according to local health officers, doctors, local residents and witnesses.

Ethiopia said that the airstrike targeted rebel fighters, but survivors and health workers said the attack was on a busy market, killing and injuring dozens, including children.

Aid agencies have been heavily restricted by Ethiopia’s government from providing desperately needed aid, while Abiy has denied that any hunger exists in Tigray.

As government soldiers withdrew from Mekelle on Monday, Unicef accused the military of destroying its satellite equipment. “Members of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces entered our office in Mekelle, Tigray Ethiopia today and dismantled our VSAT equipment.” It added: “We are not and should never be a target.”

No comments

Thank you for reaching out to us. We are happy to receive your opinion and request. If you are need advert or sponsored post, We’re excited you’re considering advertising or sponsoring a post on our blog. Your support is what keeps us going. With the current trend, it’s very obvious content marketing is the way to go. Banner advertising and trying to get customers through Google Adwords may get you customers but it has been proven beyond doubt that Content Marketing has more lasting benefits.
We offer majorly two types of advertising:
1. Sponsored Posts: If you are really interested in publishing a sponsored post or a press release, video content, advertorial or any other kind of sponsored post, then you are at the right place.
Generally, a sponsored post can be any of the following:
Press release
Video content
This kind of post is usually written to promote you or your business. However, we do prefer posts that naturally flow with the site’s general content. This means we can also promote artists, songs, cosmetic products and things that you love of all products or services.
Every sponsored article will remain live on the site as long as this website exists. The duration is indefinite! Again, we will share your post on our social media channels and our email subscribers too will get to read your article. You’re exposing your article to our: Twitter followers, Facebook fans and other social networks.

We will also try as much as possible to optimize your post for search engines as well.

Submission of Materials : Sponsored post should be well written in English language and all materials must be delivered via electronic medium. All sponsored posts must be delivered via electronic version, either on disk or e-mail on Microsoft Word unless otherwise noted.
The price largely depends on if you’re writing the content or we’re to do that. But if your are writing the content, it is $60 per article.

2. Banner Advertising: We also offer banner advertising in various sizes and of course, our prices are flexible. you may choose to for the weekly rate or simply buy your desired number of impressions.

Technical Details And Pricing
Banner Size 300 X 250 pixels : Appears on the home page and below all pages on the site.
Banner Size 728 X 90 pixels: Appears on the top right Corner of the homepage and all pages on the site.
Large rectangle Banner Size (336x280) : Appears on the home page and below all pages on the site.
Small square (200x200) : Appears on the right side of the home page and all pages on the site.
Half page (300x600) : Appears on the right side of the home page and all pages on the site.
Portrait (300x1050) : Appears on the right side of the home page and all pages on the site.
Billboard (970x250) : Appears on the home page.

Submission of Materials : Banner ads can be in jpeg, jpg and gif format. All materials must be deliverd via electronic medium. All ads must be delivered via electronic version, either on disk or e-mail in the ordered pixel dimensions unless otherwise noted.
For advertising offers, send an email with your name,company, website, country and advert or sponsored post you want to appear on our website to omodjk(at)gmail(dot)com

Normally, we should respond within 48 hours.