Tigrayan rebels agreed to a “cessation of hostilities” last Friday, a new turning point in the nearly 17-month war in northern Ethiopia following the government’s announcement of an indefinite humanitarian truce a day earlier.
The rebels said in a statement sent to AFP that they were “committed to implementing a cessation of hostilities effective immediately,” and urged Ethiopian authorities to hasten delivery of emergency aid into Tigray, where hundreds of thousands face starvation.
Since war broke out in November 2020, thousands have died, and many more have been forced to flee their homes as the conflict has expanded from Tigray to the neighbouring regions of Amhara and Afar.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government declared a surprise truce, saying it hoped the move would ease humanitarian access to Tigray and “pave the way for the resolution of the conflict” in northern Ethiopia.
It called on the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to “desist from all acts of further aggression and withdraw from areas they have occupied in neighbouring regions.”
The rebels in turn urged “the Ethiopian authorities to go beyond empty promises and take concrete steps to facilitate unfettered humanitarian access to Tigray.”
The conflict erupted when Abiy sent troops into Tigray to topple the TPLF, the region’s former ruling party, saying the move came in response to rebel attacks on army camps.
Fighting has dragged on for over a year, triggering a humanitarian crisis, as accounts have emerged of mass rapes and massacres, with both sides accused of human rights violations.–AFP.