Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has declared an end to the military offensive on Tigray, although observers suggested on Sunday that this might not spell the end of the conflict.
Ahmed said on Saturday that the armed forces had taken Mekelle, the capital of the region in the country’s north, and that the central government had taken full control of the city.
However, “what comes next is more uncertain,” Murithi Mutiga of the International Crisis Group think tank told dpa.
While the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has withdrawn from Mekelle and other cities, it still has the firepower and military expertise to keep fighting Ethiopian forces, he said. The conflict won’t have changed the fact that many people in Tigray felt marginalized by Abiy’s government, he said.
“The central question is whether Tigrayans can be convinced they belong within Ethiopia,” Mutiga said.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it had taken the dead and injured to the appropriate medical facilities.
Medical supplies were low, however, after three weeks of conflict had broken supply chains.
Meanwhile, explosions have occurred in the capital of neighbouring Eritrea, according to the US embassy.
On Saturday evening, six explosions shook Asmara, the embassy in Asmara said. It advised US citizens in Eritrea to stay at home and be vigilant because of the conflict in the Tigray region in neighbouring Ethiopia.
The background to the explosions was initially unclear. However, in the wake of the conflict in Tigray, the TPLF fired rockets at Eritrea a few weeks ago on the grounds that airstrikes were being carried out on the TPLF from Asmara airport.
In early November, the Ethiopian government launched an offensive against the TPLF, which is in power in Tigray.
The TPLF has not responded to the government’s declaration that the conflict was effectively over and that Mekelle had fallen.
The TPLF dominated Ethiopia for more than 25 years until Abiy came to power in 2018 and ousted it.
Many people in Tigray feel that they are not represented by the central government and are demanding more autonomy.
In the multi-ethnic state of Ethiopia with its around 112 million inhabitants, there are a number of ethnic tensions that have increased under Abiy, a Nobel peace laureate, who received the prize last year for making peace with Eritrea.