Street celebrations as rebels seize Ethiopian Tigray capital
In the nothern Ethiopia Tigray region, rebel forces have retaken its capital, Mekelle, sparking street celebrations and forcing officials to flee the city. Residents reported scenes of joy, including flags and firework celebrations. The government took Mekelle in November after Tigrayan rebels rejected political reforms and launched military offenses, capturing army bases. The government has now called for a humanitarian ceasefire in the region as the fighting has, so far, left thousands dead and pushed 350,000 towards famine. More than two million Ethiopians have been displaced.
There had been recent reports of renewed fighting between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and government forces outside Mekelle. On Monday, the TPLF launched a rapid offensive that led to the unexpected recapture of the city by rebels. The event may mark a possible turning point in the violent conflict. The TPLF released a statement calling the situation a stunning victory and declaring that Mekelle was under the complete control of the Tigray Defence Forces. The statement advises people and rebel forces to remain vigilant and alert until the area is fully rid of all invading forces.