ADDIS ABABA/NAIROBI (Reuters) – African Union envoys headed to Ethiopia on Wednesday hours before a government ultimatum was to expire for northern forces to surrender in a three-week war that has shaken the region and killed thousands of Tigrayan fighters according to one report.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has set a 72-hour deadline for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to lay down arms or face an assault on their highland capital Mekelle, home to half a million people.
The deadline was due to run out on Wednesday evening.
Large numbers have died and there has been widespread destruction in aerial bombardments and ground fighting since the war began on Nov. 4. Some 42,000 refugees have fled over the border to Sudan and TPLF rockets have hit neighbouring Eritrea.