Otago Daily Times

Ethiopia clos­ing in on Tigray cap­i­tal

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AD­DIS ABABA: Ethiopia said yes­ter­day it was bear­ing down on the cap­i­tal of Tigray re­gion in a two­week­old war, and tore into the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) head with ac­cu­sa­tions of diplo­matic lob­by­ing for the rebels, al­le­ga­tions he de­nied.

The con­flict has killed hun­dreds, sent 33,000 refugees into Su­dan, and called into ques­tion whether Prime Min­is­ter Abiy Ahmed — Africa’s youngest leader and last year’s No­bel Peace Prize win­ner — can hold his eth­ni­cally di­vided na­tion to­gether.

A fed­eral govern­ment air strike in­jured many uni­ver­sity stu­dents yes­ter­day in the Tigray cap­i­tal of Mekelle, a bas­tion of the re­gional rul­ing Tigray Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Front, TPLF forces said in a Face­book post.

The at­tack at Me­les Academy Uni­ver­sity ‘‘re­sulted in heavy ca­su­al­ties’’, the post said.

As­ser­tions by all sides have been im­pos­si­ble to ver­ify be­cause in­ter­net and phone con­nec­tions to Tigray have been sus­pended and ac­cess is re­stricted.

As in­ter­na­tional alarm grew over spread­ing in­sta­bil­ity in the Horn of Africa, US Pres­i­den­t­elect Joe Bi­den’s team ap­pealed for an end to fight­ing and pro­tec­tion for civil­ians.

Abiy’s Govern­ment says its troops have won a string of vic­to­ries and will soon reach Mekelle, a high­land town of about 500,000 peo­ple, where the TPLF has strong support and a bat­tle­hard­ened his­tory.

The war has pit­ted the cen­tral govern­ment against one of the most heav­ily mil­i­tarised of 10 eth­nic states that make up Ethiopia. Tigrayans from the TPLF ef­fec­tively ruled

Ethiopia for decades as the strong­est force in a multi­eth­nic coali­tion, un­til Abiy took power two years ago. — Reuters

 ?? PHOTO: REUTERS ?? Tak­ing refuge . . . An Ethiopian woman who fled the fight­ing in Tigray car­ries her food ra­tion as oth­ers queue at the Um­Rakoba camp on the Su­dan­Ethiopia bor­der in Al­Qadarif state, Su­dan, yes­ter­day.
PHOTO: REUTERS Tak­ing refuge . . . An Ethiopian woman who fled the fight­ing in Tigray car­ries her food ra­tion as oth­ers queue at the Um­Rakoba camp on the Su­dan­Ethiopia bor­der in Al­Qadarif state, Su­dan, yes­ter­day.
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