The Ethiopian rebels of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front control more and more territory in the north of the country. On Monday, power in Mekele, the capital of Tigray state, was seized from the interim government set up by the federal government.
UN officials say to BBC The town of Shire, about 140 kilometers northwest of Mikkeli, now also captured by the rebels. The area was previously under the control of forces from Eritrea supporting the Ethiopian army, but they have already left the city.
The government unilaterally declared a ceasefire on Monday in Tigray, where a fierce battle has been raging between the government and the rebels since November last year. According to the government, the ceasefire should allow farmers to rebuild their lands and give aid organizations access to the area, which has also been devastated by famine.
The rebels described the unilateral ceasefire in an interview with The Associated Press as a “sick joke”. According to them, it was precisely the government that refused to provide humanitarian aid in the region. They are determined to capture the entire region and expel the Eritrean government forces and soldiers.
At least thousands were killed in the bloody battle. More than two million people have been displaced, and an estimated 350,000 are starving.
Journalists have not had access to Tigray for a long time, but reporter Ellis van Gelder has been allowed access to the area this month:
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