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‘Stop the madness,’ Tigray leader urges Ethiopia’s PM

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The fugitive chief of Ethiopia’s defiant Tigray area on Monday known as on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to “cease the insanity” and withdraw troops from the area as he asserted that preventing continues “on each entrance” two days after Abiy declared victory.

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Debretsion Gebremichael, in a telephone interview with The Related Press, mentioned he stays close to the Tigray capital, Mekele, which the Ethiopian military on Saturday mentioned it now managed. Removed from accepting Abiy’s declaration of victory, the Tigray chief asserted that “we’re positive we’ll win.”

He additionally accused the Ethiopian forces of finishing up a “genocidal marketing campaign” in opposition to the Tigray folks. With the Tigray area nonetheless reduce off a month after the preventing started, nobody is aware of how many individuals have been killed, and it’s tough to confirm the warring sides’ claims.

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Every authorities regards the opposite as unlawful after Abiy sidelined the once-dominant Tigray Individuals’s Liberation Entrance after taking workplace in early 2018.

The combat is about self-determination of the area of some 6 million folks, the Tigray chief mentioned, and it “will proceed till the invaders are out.” He asserted that his forces held an undetermined variety of “captives” among the many Ethiopian forces, together with the pilot of a fighter jet that his aspect claims to have shot down over the weekend.

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The Tigray chief additionally asserted that his forces nonetheless have a number of missiles and “we will use them each time we wish,” although he rejected a query about hanging on the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, saying the first goal is to “clear Tigray from the invaders.” He once more accused Abiy of collaborating with neighboring Eritrea within the offensive in Tigray, one thing Abiy’s authorities has denied.

As for the concept of talks with Abiy’s authorities, one thing Abiy’s authorities has repeatedly rejected, the Tigray chief mentioned that “is dependent upon the content material” and Ethiopian forces would first have to depart the area.

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“Civilian casualties are so excessive,” he mentioned, although denied having any estimate of the toll. He accused Ethiopian forces of “looting wherever they go.”

“The struggling is larger and larger on daily basis,” he mentioned, calling it collective punishment in opposition to the Tigray folks for his or her perception of their leaders.

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Practically a month of preventing between Ethiopian federal forces and Tigray regional ones has threatened to destabilize Ethiopia, the linchpin of the strategic Horn of Africa, and its neighbors.

Hospitals and well being facilities within the Tigray area are working “dangerously low” on provides to take care of the wounded, the Worldwide Committee of the Pink Cross mentioned Sunday. Meals can be working low, the results of the area being reduce off from exterior assist for nearly a month.

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In a rare report from inside Mekele, the ICRC additionally mentioned a serious hospital in northern Ethiopia, Ayder Referral Hospital, is missing physique luggage and a few 80% of its sufferers have trauma accidents.

Fears of a widespread humanitarian catastrophe are rising. The U.N. has been unable to entry the Tigray area with assist. Human rights teams and others fear in regards to the atrocities that may emerge as soon as transport and different hyperlinks are restored.

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Practically 1 million folks have been displaced, together with about 44,000 who fled into Sudan. Camps in Tigray which might be residence to 96,000 Eritrean refugees have been within the line of fireplace.

“We’d like in the beginning entry” to Tigray, U.N. refugee chief Filippo Grandi mentioned Sunday, including that his U.N. colleagues in Addis Ababa are in discussions with the federal government there. Abiy’s authorities has promised a “humanitarian hall” managed by itself, however the U.N. has burdened the significance of neutrality.

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