Tigray’s defense forces take over region’s capital forcing Ethiopian government officials and forces to flee and declare cease-fire in massive turning point

Tigray’s defense forces have reportedly taken control of the regional capital of Mekelle as the Ethiopian appointed interim government and federal troops have been forced to retreat, a bombshell development and potential turning point in the devastating conflict.

Tigray’s defense forces
Tigray’s defense forces

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“The capital of Tigray, Mekelle, is under our control,” said Getachew Reda, spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) via Reuters.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerkii is welcomed by Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed upon his arrival at Addis Ababa International Airport, Ethiopia, Saturday, July 14, 2018. (AP Photo Mulugeta Ayene)
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerkii is welcomed by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed upon his arrival at Addis Ababa International Airport, Ethiopia, Saturday, July 14, 2018. (AP Photo Mulugeta Ayene)

The Tigray forces reportedly launched an offensive last week that has resulted in the complete overthrow of the ruling government. As interim government officials have abandoned their posts and fled, witnesses also report seeing federal soldiers and forces retreat from the city of Mekelle.

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“Everybody has left. The last ones left in the afternoon. The region doesn’t have a government,” said an interim government official to AFP.

Abiy Ahmed
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali

The Ethiopian government on Monday declared an immediate cease-fire in the Tigray region, which is says will, “enable farmers to till their land, aid groups to operate without any military movement around and engage with remnants who seek peace.”

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The conflict in Tigray started as a military campaign nearly eight months ago and has ravaged the war-torn region, leaving roughly 900,000 people suffering from famine-like conditions, millions more at risk, and nearly everyone in need of humanitarian assistance.

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