As Ethiopia announces unilateral ceasefire in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, there are also conflicting reports that Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) army, now calls itself as Tigray Defense Force, took control of Mekelle
Ethiopian government on Monday announced a unilateral ceasefire in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. And no precondition is set for it.
“All Federal and regional civil and military institutions are instructed to implement the ceasefire in accordance with guidelines from the government, ” said the statement from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration.
The decision came on the same day after the interim Tigray region administration reportedly asked for a ceasefire in consideration of the sowing season in the region to enable farmers to undertake their farming activities.
The news came as a surprise to many Ethiopians. And there is a noticeable expectation that the government will explain the matter to the public.
Over the weekend, Pro-TPLF supporters, mostly based in the diaspora, claimed victory against the Ethiopian Defense Force members. They went to the extent of claiming that four divisions of the army were taken as captive by TPLF forces.
A report by the New York Times, on Monday, said that the TPLF forces have entered Mekelle, seat of the regional government where the interim regional government was operating.
“A senior interim official who had been installed in Tigray by the federal government confirmed that Tigrayan forces had entered the city and had seized control of the airport and telecommunications network. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals,” reported the New York Times.
Dimtsi Woyane, TPLF media, also announced that TPLF forces entered Mekelle on Monday in the evening.
The Ethiopian government has not yet confirmed if the Ethiopian Defense Force withdrew from Mekelle.
Many of the key TPLF leaders were killed during the military operation in December 2020 and dozens are in police custody. The statement from the Ethiopian government said that the hunt for criminal members of the TPLF, and the investigation of those who are in custody, will continue.
The United States government has been putting pressure on Ethiopian government, calling for the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from the region, an end to the conflict and a political settlement for it.
In May of this year, the Ethiopian parliament designated TPLF as a terrorist force. The war in the region started when TPLF forces attacked several bases of the Northern Command on the night of November 24, 2020. Some commentators speculate that the designation as a terrorist force might complicate negotiation with the TPLF forces.
Meanwhile, on Monday United Nations Secretary General, Mr. António Guterres, said he spoke to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. He said, “”I have just spoken with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and I am hopeful that an effective cessation of hostilities will take place in Tigray. It is essential that civilians are protected, humanitarian aid reaches the people in need and a political solution is found.”