Opposition factions in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia confirmed that explosions, looting and skirmishes continued in parts of the region on Saturday, after government forces announced that they were about to arrest opposition leaders.
Reports indicate that the fighting, which has been going on for about a month, between the federal forces led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray, has so far caused thousands of deaths and about 46,000 refugees to neighboring Sudan.
The government said that “the conflict is nearing an end,” a week after the army seized control of Mek’ele, the provincial capital, while the opposition leaders confirmed that the fighting “continues.”
The opposition accuses government forces of looting and stealing property, which was not commented on by official government sources.
Abiy Ahmed was previously a political partner of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which had dominated the ruling coalition in Ethiopia for 3 decades, but angered his former allies after Tigray officials were brought to trial in corruption and abuse cases.
The front said that “the arrests and trials were politically motivated,” accusing the prime minister of trying to tighten his grip on power in the country, at a time when Ahmed described the leaders of the front as “criminals who rebelled against the federal authority.”