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An Ethiopian woman now in a refugee camp at the Sudan-Ethiopia border town of al-Fashqa An Ethiopian woman now in a refugee camp at the Sudan-Ethiopia border town of al-Fashqa 

Surrender: Ethiopian Prime Minister urges Tigray rebel forces

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed calls for surrender as new Ethiopian Foreign Minister assures diplomats that the war will soon be contained.

Vatican News English Africa Service – Vatican City

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has released a five-minute video in the Tigrigna language giving members of the Tigray Special Forces an ultimatum to surrender in two to three days, said Ethiopia’s online news outlet, The Reporter.    

Government says it only wants to restore the rule of law

Ethiopia’s new Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen, assured diplomats in Ethiopia that the government was keen to achieve its goals and end the fighting in the Tigray region.

The Reporter quotes a diplomatic briefing that the new Foreign Minister held on Friday. Mekonnen said the main goal was to restore the rule of law in the Tigray region and bring perpetrators of the war to justice “within a very short period of time.”

UN asks for a humanitarian corridor

According to The Reporter, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia, Catherine Sozi, asked the Ethiopian government to open a humanitarian corridor through which humanitarian aid could be delivered to people in need of assistance. She also asked for the opening of infrastructural facilities such as roads, water access, telecommunication and banks.

“Although over 800 humanitarian workers reside in the Tigray region, it has become impossible to communicate and deliver the necessary humanitarian assistance in the conflict areas,” said Catherine Sozi.

Thousands of Ethiopian refugees continue to flee the fighting in Tigray. The majority have crossed into Sudan.

Amnesty International confirms a horrific massacre of civilians

In a press release, Deprose Muchena of Amnesty International’s East and Southern Africa Director, said, “Amnesty International has verified video footage and photographs that show scores of people were attacked with knives and machetes, with hundreds feared dead, in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region on the night of 9 November.” The statement continues, “Amnesty has not yet been able to confirm who was responsible for the killings but has spoken to witnesses who said forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front were responsible - apparently carrying out the killings after they suffered a defeat at the hands of Federal Ethiopian Defence Forces. Three people told Amnesty that survivors of the massacre said they were attacked by members of the Tigray Special Police Force and other Tigray People’s Liberation Front members.”

Eritrean refugees in Tigray

In the meantime, an Eritrean priest, Abba Mussie Zerai, a priest of the eparchy of Asmara has appealed for the protection of Eritrean refugees who are in the Tigray region.

“In Tigray, there are thousands of Eritreans who are often hungry and exposed to all forms of exploitation and abuse. This (current) situation increases the despair of these people and drives them into the hands of human traffickers,” Abba Zerai told Agenzia Fides.

Rebels accuse Eritrea

Rebel leader, Debretsion Gebremichael, of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), told Reuters on Sunday that rebellious local forces in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are fighting “16 divisions” of the Eritrean army in addition to Ethiopian Federal troops. The Eritrea’s government has denied involvement in the conflict.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a military offensive in the restive Tigray northern region on 4 November.

(Additional reporting: Reuters)

15 November 2020, 09:36