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Ethiopia ends cease-fire as Tigray rebels continue incursions

MEKELLE, ETHIOPIA - MARCH 07: Units of Ethiopian army patrol the streets of Mekelle city of the Tigray region, in northern Ethiopia on March 07, 2021 after the city was captured with an operation towards Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). ( Minasse Wondimu Hailu - Anadolu Agency )
Units of Ethiopian army patrol the streets of Mekelle city of the Tigray region, in northern Ethiopia on March 07, 2021 after the city was captured with an operation towards Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) [Minasse Wondimu Hailu - Anadolu Agency]

Ethiopia on Tuesday abrogated a previous cease-fire in place since June 29 that unilaterally ended a government offensive on Tigray rebels in the country's north, Anadolu Agency reported.

The announcement to end the truce that the government declared in the conflict with the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), came in a statement made by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office.

Nearly 2 million Ethiopians have been internally displaced due to the conflict, while tens of thousands fled to neighboring Sudan.

The statement urged all Ethiopians to rally behind the country's military in the fight against the TPLF, whose forces attacked the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Forces stationed across Tigray, including in Mekele.

The following day on Nov. 4, the Ethiopian government launched a sweeping law enforcement operation across Tigray in which many major TPLF leaders were either killed or arrested. The insurgency has continued despite this and is now expanding south, west, and east into the neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar.

READ: Sudan recalls ambassador to Ethiopia after mediation offer rejected

"The killings and looting of communities in neighboring Amhara and Afar regions continue," said the statement.

"They have prevented farmers from cultivating their lands. They even robbed monasteries. They barred aid trucks from entering Tigray," it added, also accusing the TPLF of banning the distribution of food in Mekele to those who would not join them.

"Its (TPLF) leaders have arrogantly declared that the TPLF's goal and purpose is to disintegrate Ethiopia. With the help of foreign support, they have chosen to pull the trigger for further destruction."

It urged the public to be the "eyes and ears of the country in order to track down and expose spies and agents" of the insurgent group.

Last week, TPLF fighters captured the historic town of Lalibella, which hosts 12th-century rock hewn churches.

The group allegedly massacred more than 200 internally displaced civilians including more than 100 children being sheltered at a camp, according to Al Jazeera, causing outcry in the Horn of Africa country.

TPLF has been shelling the town of Woldiya in Wollo, Amhara State, over the past couple of days, eye witnessed told Anadolu Agency over the phone as local militia sought to repulse the offensive.

READ: Thousands in Ethiopian capital rally against Tigray rebels

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