16 banks reopen in Tigray for first time since conflict

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16 private and state banks have reopened their branches in Tigray on Saturday, offering a financial lifeline to cash-starved residents and businesses 12-day after a conflict between Ethiopia’s government and forces in the country’s Tigray region started.

Tigray Regional state Trade and Industry bureau said individuals would be allowed to withdraw up to 20,000 birr per month and private business up to 50,000 birr. However, the service was limited only to withdrawing money from one’s deposit, according to residents.

Conflict erupted twelve days ago in Tigray involving federal and regional forces, following the takeover of an army base in the Tigray, after which Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive. Banks and businesses closed their doors in the capital Mekele and other towns of the region, forcing residents to barter for food and cover long distances by foot. There are already shortages of basic commodities, salaries remain unpaid, and people edging closer to economic disaster.

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