AFP – The Ethiopian army says it has killed four senior members of the Tigray region’s ruling party targeted in a military offensive, state-affiliated media reported late Thursday.
Those killed included the former head of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) finance bureau, Daniel Assefa and a pro-TPLF commentator Sekoture Getachew, according to Brigadier General Tesfaye Aylew, cited by Fana Broadcasting Corporate.
The former director of the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority and a journalist close to the party were also killed.
On Friday Tesfaye told the state-owned Ethiopia News Agency that one of the founders of the TPLF, 84-year-old Sebhat Nega, had been arrested. Nine other top members of the party have been taken into custody.
Sebhat has taken a low profile in recent years but continued to give interviews criticising the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Abiy, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, announced the military campaign against the TPLF on November 4, saying it came in response to TPLF-orchestrated attacks on federal army camps.
Abiy declared victory after federal forces took the regional capital Mekele in late November, but the UN says clashes persist in the region which remains very difficult to access for the media and humanitarians.
The leader of the TPLF, Debretsion Gebremichael, and other leaders of the party have been on the run since Mekele fell, and the army is offering a reward of 10 million Ethiopian birr (roughly $250,000 / 205,000 euros) for information leading to their capture.
The TPLF dominated Ethiopian politics for three decades until the arrival of Abiy who was appointed in 2018 and progressively sidelined them.
Abiy has now appointed a new regional government in Tigray and declared an official end to the operation in November.
The fighting in Tigray has left thousands dead, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank, and sent tens of thousands of refugees streaming across the border into Sudan.
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