Addis Ababa, Jun 29 (EFE).- The ceasefire announced Monday by the government in the war-torn Ethiopian region of Tigray sparked hopes of resolving the nearly eight-month conflict that killed thousands of people.
The government declared a “unilateral humanitarian ceasefire” in the northern region at the request of the interim regional government.
“The Federal government understands that the people of Tigray, especially those in rural areas, have suffered greatly,” the exterior ministry said in a statement adding that this poses a “challenge” that needs to be addressed “without delay”.
The conflict broke out on 4 November, when the central government’s troops attacked the then ruling party in the region in retaliation for an attack on a federal army base.
Although the government announced the victory in late November, the fighting continued claiming thousands of lives and forcing around 2 million people out of their homes and at least 75,000 people into neighboring Sudan.
The Ethiopian army retreated Monday from the Tigray capital, which they seized in November, after the rebel forces took control, sources inside Tigray’s interim government imposed by Addis Ababa told Efe.
“We would like to share the great news with the entire population and friends of Tigray that our beloved capital, Mekelle, is now under the complete control of the Tigray Defense Forces,” said the government of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which had been overthrown in November.
Last night, thousands of people took to the streets of Mekelle to celebrate the ceasefire and the presence of the troops of the TPLF, which did not reveal whether it would respect the truce.
“I have just spoken with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and I am hopeful that an effective cessation of hostilities will take place in Tigray,” the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres wrote on Twitter.
“It is essential that civilians are protected, humanitarian aid reaches the people in need and a political solution is found,” he added. EFE