Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the army on Thursday (November 26th) to launch the final offensive against dissident Tigray authorities in Makale, the capital of this northern region of Ethiopia.
The army was ordered to “Carry out the (…) last phase” of the operation launched on November 4 against the leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF), Abiy said on his Facebook account, promising that “Everything would be done so that the city of Makalé (…) does not suffer serious damage” and “To protect civilians”.
“The last peaceful exit door of the TPLF junta has been closed by the arrogance of the junta”, explained Mr. Abiy, at the expiration of a seventy-two hour ultimatum given to the Tigrayan authorities and members of their forces to surrender.
“If the TPLF criminal clique had chosen to surrender peacefully, the (military) campaign would have ended with minimal damage”, he stressed, recalling having given to the leaders of Tigray “Multiple opportunities to surrender peacefully in recent weeks”.
The Prime Minister calls “The inhabitants of Makalé and its surroundings to lay down their arms, to stay away from military targets and to take all necessary precautions”.
“Everything will be done to avoid targeting historical remains, places of worship, public and development institutions, private homes”, he assured.
Spearhead during fifteen years of the armed struggle against the military-Marxist regime of the Derg, finally overthrown in 1991, the TPLF then controlled the political and security apparatus of Ethiopia for almost thirty years.
Became prime minister in 2018, against a backdrop of violent anti-government protest, Mr. Abiy gradually removed the TPLF from power in Addis Ababa.
Tensions then continued to grow between the TPLF, entrenched in its stronghold of Tigray, and the federal government, until the organization in Tigray of a qualified poll. “Illegitimate” by Addis Ababa.
Mr. Abiy justified sending the army to Tigray by accusing the TPLF of having attacked two federal army bases in the region, which the Tigray authorities deny.