Gebretsion Micheal the leader of Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) rejected the 72-hour Monday ultimatum by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in regards to the dissident region of Tigray.
We are now three weeks into the launch of a military operation targeting Northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region. At the moment, plans are underway to encircle the Tigray capital Mekele which is the seat of the local government, and Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).
Ten days ago, the Ethiopian PM issued his first ultimatum to the ‘rebel’ region calling on them to defect and integrate into the federal army. Days later he announced a full-scale military intervention into the Tigray region that started on the 4th of November.
According to the TPLF leader and Tigray president, the three days threat is nothing but a regular threat. “How many times?” he said on Monday. “We are ready to die,” he said. In unsubstantiated claims, he revealed that the true intention of the ultimatum was a way for the Ethiopian soldiers to cover defeats they sustained on three fronts and regroup.
The official news agency of the TPLF, the Tigray Mass Media Agency announced the firing of rockets to Bahir Dar airport, to the capital of neighboring Amhara. At the moment, it is difficult to verify any claim made by either side as communications to Tigray have been cut off entirely.
According to UNHCR, over 40,000 refugees have fled into Sudan fearing the adverse effects of a prolonged conflict.
Also read: Ethiopia Tigray conflict
Abiy’s government claims to control the locality of Edaga Hamus, situated 100 km North of Mekele, while the army controls Mehoni 125 km to it’s South. Both towns are situated on the main road to the Tigray capital. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister accused the TPLF of destroying vital national infrastructures such as the airport in Aksum, medical centers, schools, roads, and bridges.
The international community has called for an urgent de-escalation of hostilities, even pushing for mediation. The African Union has appointed Joaquim Chissano (former Mozambican president), South African Kgalema Motlanthe, and Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as special envoys.
The TPLF government’s crisis spokesman Redwan Hussein declined in substance to the mediation but expressed a willingness to talk with the envoys out of respect. On Tuesday, the UN Security Council held their first meeting on the war in Tigray upon request by Tunisia, South Africa, Niger, and St. Vincent, and the Grenadines. Tensions have been rising between Ethiopia’smilitary and security forces and the TPLF. Abiy’s justification for military action was in response to his claims that the Tigrayan forces attacked two federal army bases.