Otago Daily Times
Ethiopia closing in on Tigray capital
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