By Nathan Morley
The Prime Minister of Ethiopia ordered the military to respond to an attack on an army camp in the regional capital of Mekele by the Tigray People's Liberation Front, known as the TPLF.
On Wednesday, the Ethiopian government also declared a state of emergency in the Tigray district.
Abiy Ahmed cited months of ‘provocation and incitement’ and insisted a red line had been crossed.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for immediate measures to de-escalate tensions.
He also renewed the commitment of the UN to support the government of Ethiopia in its reform efforts aimed at building a peaceful and secure future for all its peoples.
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said it is becoming increasing alarmed at the escalation of violence in the country.
"Rising hostilities in the Tigray region threaten the immediate safety of hundreds of thousands of people,’ the NRC said in a statement. ‘Any increase in violence would foreshadow further regional destabilization and humanitarian disaster. We call upon all parties to resolve tensions through dialogue and to take all appropriate measures to end military action’.
The most recent figures from NRC suggest there are currently 1.80 million people internally displaced across Ethiopia and a further 790,000 refugees seeking protection from other conflicts in the East Africa region.