Ethiopia declares immediate, unilateral cease-fire in Tigray

First published on June 28, 2021 / 4:00 PM And there was no immediate comment from neighboring Eritrea, whose soldiers have been accused by Tigray residents of some of the worst atrocities in the war. Monday’s cease-fire declaration signaled a new approach, at least for a while. It comes as the country awaits the results of national elections that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed promoted as the centerpiece of reforms that won him the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. flag during anthem

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Ethnic Tigrayans, even those who didn’t support the former ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front before the war, say they have been targeted harshly for suspected links with the Tigray fighters. A farmer uses oxen to plough terraced land by the side of a road leading to the town of Abi Adi, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. 

Ben Curtis / AP

Ethiopia said the cease-fire will last until the end of the crucial planting season in Tigray. International pressure on Ethiopia spiked again last week after a military airstrike on a busy market killed more than 60 people, and after Doctors Without Borders said three staffers had been murdered in a separate incident.Amid the upheaval on Monday, the United Nations children’s agency said Ethiopian soldiers entered its office in Mekele and dismantled satellite communications equipment, an act it said violated the world body’s immunity. Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict as Ethiopian and allied forces pursue Tigray’s former leaders and their supporters, and as humanitarian groups plead for more access to the region of 6 million people.  Tigray in recent days has seen some of the fiercest fighting of the conflict. Tigrayan children gather in the classroom where they now live in an elementary school used as a camp for the internally-displaced in the town of Abi Adi, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. 

Ben Curtis / AP

Ethiopia’s statement was carried by state media shortly after the Tigray interim administration, appointed by the federal government, fled the regional capital, Mekele, and called for a cease-fire on humanitarian grounds so that desperately needed aid can be delivered. 

U.N. 08:18

Ethiopia’s government on Monday declared an immediate, unilateral cease-fire in its Tigray region after nearly eight months of deadly conflict and as hundreds of thousands of people face the world’s worst famine crisis in a decade. There was no immediate comment from the Tigray fighters, with whom Ethiopia had rejected talks. Since then, the world has struggled to access much of the region and investigate growing allegations of atrocities including gang rapes and forced starvation. The government ordered all federal and regional authorities to respect the cease-fire, which is crucial because authorities and fighters from the neighboring Amhara region have been accused of atrocities in western Tigray. “The government has the responsibility to find a political solution to the problem,” the head of the interim administration, Abraham Belay, said in calling for the cease-fire, adding that some elements within Tigray’s former ruling party are willing to engage with the federal government. As Tigray forces occupied the airport and other key positions in Mekele and broadcast a message telling residents to stop celebrating and go home, retreating Ethiopian soldiers shot at students at Mekele University, killing two and wounding three, said a nurse at Ayder hospital, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation. Ethiopia has denied it.But Abiy in an interview aired last week alarmed observers by recalling that aid to Tigray during Ethiopia’s devastating 1980s famine had bolstered the Tigray fighters who eventually overthrew the ruling regime. UNICEF last week warned that at least 33,000 severely malnourished children face “imminent risk of death” without more aid reaching Tigray’s people. The cease-fire “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 continue. Abiy’s transformation from making peace to waging war has appalled many observers since the fighting in Tigray erupted in November. Ethiopia declares immediate and unilateral cease-fire in Tigray after nearly 8 months of war

June 28, 2021 / 4:00 PM
/ AP

Humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region

Humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray regi… The Tigray fighters, loyal to the former regional ruling party that for years dominated Ethiopia’s government before being sidelined by the new prime minister, undermined the November declaration by waging a guerrilla war in the region’s rough terrain. The season’s end comes in September. The cease-fire could calm a war that has destabilized Africa’s second most populous country and threatened to do the same in the wider Horn of Africa, where Ethiopia has been seen as a key security ally for the West. Such a thing will “never happen” now, he said. Trending News

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Gwen Berry responds to backlash after she turns away from U.S. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement that he had spoken with the prime minister and “I am hopeful that an effective cessation of hostilities will take place.” Meanwhile, Mekele residents cheered the return of Tigray forces for the first time since Ethiopian forces took the city in late November and Abiy declared victory.