Govt Gives 72-hour Ultimatum for TPLF Leaders to Surrender

ADDIS ABEBA –  Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has issued a three-day ultimatum for leadership of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and its militias to surrender peacefully as the law enforcement operation in northern region of Ethiopia entered its “final phase”.

Federal troops are now closing in on Mekelle city where TPLF forces are based, after they have taken control of Edega town on Sunday.

“The law enforcement operation has now reached the third and crucial phase,” said Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in a message televised on Sunday night.

The government said the first phase managed to strengthen and re-mobilise the national defense force in the region, which was the subject of deadly attack by the TPLF forces on November 4 while the second step limited the TPLF forces to Mekelle city.

The third phase would now be “the final step in bringing the treasonous TPLF clique”, which, the Prime Minister said, “requires a great deal of wisdom, caution and patience”.

Prime Minister Abiy has said residents of Mekelle city could play key role in the final chapter of the law enforcement operation.

Residents of the regional capital city to should “play key role in bringing this treasonous group to justice by standing in solidarity with the national defense force”, Abiy said.

– Final Ultimatum –

Abiy has also called on members of Tigray special forces and militia to surrender peacefully.

“We call up on them to take advantage of this last opportunity and surrender peacefully to the government withing 72 hours,” he said.

The government has also extended a similar ultimatum to TPLF leadership.

“Take this last opportunity,” he said, telling them to “refrain from further massacres and destruction of cities and save yourselves from being condemned forever in the books of history”.

There is no indication of the TPLF leadership accepting the latest ultimatum with their leader saying on Sunday the group will keep fighting despite losing major cities to the federal troops over the past three days.

Up to 30,000 people have crossed the border into Sudan following the start of the conflict, according to the United Nations. The federal government reiterated that it wants to repatriate the thousands of Ethiopians who’ve fled to Sudan and address their humanitarian needs.

The Prime Minister insisted that the federal government will see out law enforcement action, “along with the task of returning those who have fled their homes; rehabilitate the displaced; repair the damaged infrastructure and to help citizens in the liberated areas return to their normal lives”.

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