Juba, South Sudan,
June 29, 2021 – The federal government of Ethiopia has declared a unilateral ceasefire in the Tigray region to end months of bloody tension with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
The truce was announced hours after the rebel group recaptured Mekelle, capital of the Tigray northern region on Monday. The news was greeted by euphoria with the hope that the six-month suffering catapulted by the crisis will be gone.
Mekelle was militarily taken by the federal government in November after the rebel group rejected the supposed political reforms proposed by the federal government.
Military confrontations between government and rebel forces killed thousands and placed 350,000 on the verge of famine while over two million have been displaced.
Before the military exercise that led to the recapture of Mekelle, heavy fighting was also reported outside the capital of the northern Tigray region.
A government official told AFP that the rebels had retaken Mekelle saying the interim government departed after rebels closed in “on every side”.
“Everybody has left. The last ones left in the afternoon…The region doesn’t have a government,” the source was quoted to have said.
Tigray residents quoted by the BBC said: “Everybody is out of their house. Everybody is excited and they have music on the streets. Everybody has their flags out and music is playing.”
We are not target
The Ethiopian federal government troops were accused of storming the compounds of humanitarian organizations, vandalizing property.
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) said on Monday, Ethiopian government troops entered its offices and vandalized satellite equipment.
UNICEF condemned the act writing in a statement: “We are not, and should never be a target.”
The Ethiopian government under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was yet to comment on the withdrawal of the federal government troops but sources say it has settled for a ceasefire which will be worked on and “stay until the farming season ends”.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he spoke to Mr. Abiy who said he was “hopeful that an effective cessation of hostilities will take place”.
According to a statement seen by Nyamilepedia, Guterres said: “It is essential that civilians are protected, humanitarian aid reach the people in need and a political solution is found”.