Those fleeing conflict also included at least 30 armed Ethiopian troops seeking protection as the fighting escalated in northern Ethiopia, where Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has launched a military offensive against Tigray’s regional government, which the federal government considers illegitimate.
Calls for dialague
The fighting has resulted in hundreds of deaths on both sides, which has prompted an international intervention.
“Civilians and humanitarian access must be protected,” said British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who also spoke to Abiy and called for de-escalation. He was joined by leaders of the African Union, who urged an immediate ceasefire and an “inter-Ethiopian effort in the pursuit of peace.”
Despite international calls for dialogue, Abiy has said there will be no negotiations till local leaders are arrested and their well-stocked arsenal destroyed.
While Abiy has maintained that the military operation would yield swift results, experts warn that fighting in Africa’s second-most-populous country could drag on, destabilizing the region.
Read more: Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: A powder keg waiting to explode
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