After months of battling in a horrific civil war, Ethiopia’s Tigray region’s former ruling party announced on Monday that it had retaken control of Mekelle, the regional capital, after Ethiopian armed forces retreated from the city.
The Ethiopian government, which deposed Tigray’s administration late last year, ordered an immediate truce.
Residents in Mekelle’s downtown reported seeing rebel troops for the first time since Ethiopian forces drove them out in November, and numerous witnesses detailed street celebrations. By phone, a representative for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF, informed Reuters that Tigray’s capital, Mekelle, is under their control.
Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, said he had spoken with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and was “hopeful” for a “effective stop of hostilities.”
The latest events came after reports of violence between Ethiopian military and the TPLF outside Mekelle escalating recently.
A medical official told Reuters that an air attack killed around 60 people in a community northwest of Mekelle on Tuesday.
Only militants, not civilians, were struck, according to an Ethiopian military spokeswoman last week.
The attack was one of the bloodiest incidents in the region in months.