Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Tuesday military operations in the northern Tigray region would enter a “final” phase, as global pressure mounted to bring the two-week-old conflict to a swift end.
Fresh air strikes hit the regional capital of Mekele on Monday as East African leaders called for an end to the conflict and for dialogue, which Ethiopia has so far resisted.
Abiy, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, announced a military campaign in the dissident region on November 4, saying it came in response to attacks by local ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), on federal military camps.
The fighting has left hundreds dead and prompted around 25,000 Ethiopians to flee across the border into Sudan, with many more refugees expected.
On Friday Abiy declared the TPLF was “in the final throes of death” and gave troops in the region three days to “rise up” and side with the national army.