By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Addis Ababa: The Ethiopian government has warned people in Trigray city with over half a million population to vacate and save their lives before its too late and distance themselves from the Trigray leaders.
Hundreds of people are fleeing Mekele, the capital of Ethiopia’s Tigray region, after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s order for the “final phase” of the military offensive against local forces adding that their will be no mercy if civilians fail to adhere.
Abiy warned Mekele residents on Thursday to disarm and stay inside as military units were ordered in. His government, however, has declared it would protect civilians.
“The last peaceful gate which had remained open for the TPLF clique to walk through have now been firmly closed as a result of TPLF’s contempt for the people of Ethiopia,” Abiy said in a statement on Thursday, referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.
Earlier this week, Abiy gave the TPLF an ultimatum of 72 hours to surrender or face a military offensive on the state’s capital of Mekele.
In the meantime, food and other items are running in short supply in the Tigray region of 6 million people. The United Nations has called for immediate access for humanitarian aid that is neutral and impartial.
Abiy’s government has said a “humanitarian access route” would become available, managed by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Peace.
The Ethiopian army has been battling local forces in Tigray since November 4, when Abiy sent the national defense force into the area, after accusing local forces of attacking a military base there.
The conflict has raised alarm from rights organizations and the United Nations, which have urged Abiy to seek a diplomatic solution to the problem, noting the harm faced by civilians already victims of a weak economy and the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Abiy has rejected all calls for dialogue with Tigray leaders and he is proceeding with the ‘no mercy’ declaration.