Mekelle: Battle for It, TPLF Vows to Fight to the End
Final Operation to take control of Mekelle city, northern Ethiopia, underway. The city has been under siege for days now. TPLF leaders vowed to fight to till the end
Abiy Ahmed saluting army during Sheger park inauguration in September 2020 (photo :OPM)
November 25, 2020
A day after the completion of seventy-two hours ultimatum for TPLF leaders and loyal supporters to surrender to Ethiopian Defense Force, Abiy Ahmed announced early Thursday that the final operation to take over Mekelle is launched.
“In the past seventy-two hours, thousands of the criminal group’s special forces and militia surrendered to the Defense Force,” said Abiy Ahmed in his Facebook message with which he announced the start of the final operation.
The ultimatum was given after Ethiopian Defense Forces encircled Mekelle in a radius of 50 kilometers or fewer. The Ethiopian Defense Force managed to control almost all cities in Tigray region in a matter of two weeks of operation by quelling TPLF militia, special forces, and police forces.
The seventy-two hours ultimatum had two intentions, Abiy Ahmed said. One was to make clear that the objective of the operation is law enforcement, not war. Secondly, it was intended as an opportunity in case there are those who could be aware of the destructive aims of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). In fact, his government claims that thousands have exploited the opportunity to leave behind the task of fighting for the lives of criminal TPLF leaders.
The Ethiopian Defense Force is given the order to finalize the operation.
Furthermore, he said that it will be carried out with utmost care to avoid civilian casualties and destruction in the city. Residents of Mekelle city are advised to put down their arms and stay at home and avoid places of military targets.
PM Abiy Ahmed also called on residents to contribute their part in handing over what he called members of the Junta to reduce damage in the city.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the TPLF Getachew Reda released a letter calling for the international community to help achieve the cessation of hostilities to immediately stop the fighting.
The Ethiopian government has been engaging the diplomatic community in the country, and also sending delegations to the various countries to make the point that the war is a campaign to enforce the rule of law and that it is an internal affair.