Ethiopia announces 'unilateral' ceasefire in Tigray
The Ethiopian government announces a unilateral ceasefire in the Tigray region after the Tigray Defence Forces left Mek'ele.
The Ethiopian government announced Monday a 'unilateral' ceasefire in the Tigray region, according to official media. At the same time, militants entered Mek'ele, the region's capital, amid celebrations in the city's streets.
A statement published by the media said, "an unconditional ceasefire was announced, unilaterally, as of June 28."
The latest developments mark a turning point in the nearly-eight-month-old conflict in the Tigray region, which the United Nations said has brought nearly 350,000 to the brink of starvation.
The ceasefire announcement coincided with the Tigray Defense Forces entering Mek'ele, where residents danced while local officials fled the city.
There has been no immediate reaction from the Tigray Defense Forces to the government's ceasefire decision.
The war in Tigray began last November when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent his forces into the region to oust opponents.
He said at the time that the move came to "respond to the attacks" carried out by the ruling party of the region, the Tigray People's Liberation Front, on federal army camps.
The Tigray Defense Forces launched a massive offensive operation last week as the Ethiopians were holding their elections.
An official in the government's Interim Regional Administration said on Monday that the Tigray Defense Forces militants had entered the capital, Mek'ele. He stressed that those forces "took control of the city and watched it myself. They entered," noting that "the city is celebrating and everyone is on the streets dancing."
He stated that the interim administration, appointed by Abiy Ahmed in Tigray, chose to leave Mek'ele after the Tigray Defense Forces fighters surrounded it from all sides.
A source, who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons, said, "Everyone left. The last of them left in the afternoon...There is no longer a government in the region."
A relief official confirmed the departure of the interim administration.