Prime Minister said Thursday the army has been ordered to move on the embattled Tigray regional capital after his 72-hour ultimatum ended for Tigray leaders to surrender, and he warned the city’s half-million residents to stay indoors and disarm. The military offensive “has reached its final stage” after three weeks of fighting, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said. That means tanks and other weaponry can close in on Mekele, whose residents were warned of “no mercy” if they didn’t move away from the defiant Tigray leaders in time. That caused international alarm as rights groups said such wording could violate international law and put civilians in further danger. “We will take utmost care to protect civilians,” Abiy’s statement said. It also asserted that thousands of Tigray militia and Special Forces surrendered during the 72-hour period. Abiy’s office for the first time did say a “humanitarian access route” would open under the management of the country’s Ministry of Peace, with no details. It also said distribution of supplies has begun in areas of Tigray now under government control.
SOURCE: AP NEWS