Ethiopian Government declares ceasefire in Tigray region

The Ethiopian government has declared a ceasefire in the Tigray region – eight months after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops to oust its leadership.

The announcement came as witnesses reported anti-government troops in the streets of Tigray’s capital, Mekelle.

All sides have been accused of carrying out mass killings and human rights violations.

More than five million people are in urgent need of food aid, the UN says, with 350,000 facing famine.

On Monday, reports began to emerge that the Tigrayan fighters – who launched a new offensive last week – had forced the interim administration from Mekelle.

Getachew Reda, spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), told news agency Reuters the city was now under their control.

A number of people in Mekelle have also told the BBC they are celebrating federal troops’ departure. An unnamed source within the interim government told news agency AFP “everyone has left”, while two eyewitnesses told Reuters Tigrayan soldiers were seen in Mekelle.

Ethiopia’s government is yet to comment on reports that its troops have been pulled out.

But a statement released late on Monday did clarify some of the details around the ceasefire, saying it would “stay until the farming season ends”, allow aid to reach those in need and give space to find a political solution.

The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who spoke with Mr Abiy on Monday, said it was “essential that civilians are protected, humanitarian aid reaches the people in need and a political solution is found”. However, he was “hopeful” that the ceasefire would take place. (Courtesy BBC)