ADDIS ABABA – Many soldiers and civilians have been killed in the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, a spokesman for the Ethiopian government task force for Tigray said on Wednesday.
It was the first public statement by any official in Ethiopia’s federal government since Tigray’s regional capital Mekelle was seized by Tigrayan forces this week.
“Ethiopia is exposed to an attack from outsiders” because of the conflict, Redwan Hussein, spokesman for the Ethiopian government’s task force for Tigray, told reporters.
On Monday, as the reports emerged of Tigrayan troops reaching downtown Mekelle, the regional capital, the federal government issued a statement declaring a unilateral ceasefire with immediate effect.
On Tuesday, Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) spokesman Getachew Reda told Reuters that the ceasefire declaration was a “joke”. Phone lines were down in Mekelle.
The TPLF, an ethnically based political party that dominated Ethiopia’s national politics for nearly three decades, has been battling the central government since early November. It made major territorial gains in the past week.