BBC | Nov 19, 2020
Ethiopia has issued arrest warrants for 76 army officers accused of being linked to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
– Forces loyal to the TPLF party are fighting the government in the restive Tigray region.
– Ethiopia’s prime minister has said that his army is advancing on its capital, Mekelle.
– Hundreds have reportedly died and tens of thousands have fled the area after two weeks of clashes.
– Verifying information from Tigray is hard because of a blackout on most communications.
What is the latest?
On Wednesday federal police announced arrest warrants for 76 army officers, some of whom are reportedly retired. They are accused of conspiring with the TPLF, according to AFP news agency.
The government accused the TPLF of attacking a military base to steal weapons, which the TPLF denied. In response, Mr Abiy ordered a military offensive, accusing the TPLF of “treason”.
Speaking to the BBC, Billene Seyoum – a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed – denied reports that Tigrayans elsewhere in the country were being arrested on the basis of their ethnicity. But she admitted many had been detained for membership of what she called criminal networks.
The news came after government forces seized the towns of Shire (the hometown of Gebremichael, leader of the TPFL) and Axum after a three-day deadline given by Prime Minister Abiy to Tigray’s forces to surrender expired on Tuesday.