Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced the end of military operations in Tigray on Saturday evening after the government soldiers entered the regional capital, Mekelle.
“I am pleased to share that we have completed and ceased the military operations in the Tigray region,” he said.
In a statement on Twitter, Abiy said the army was in full control of Mekelle and that this “marks the completion of the Ethiopian National Forces’ last phase”.
The advance on Mekelle came almost a week after Abiy told the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) leadership to surrender or face an assault on their stronghold.
The army had secured the release of thousands of soldiers taken by the TPLF and was in control of the airport, public institutions, the regional administration office and other criticial facilties, Abiy said, adding that the operation had been carried out with “precision and due care for citizens”.
Federal police were searching for the leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and would bring them to the court of law, the prime minister said.
Hours after the government declared military operations in Tigray complete, TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael said his forces will continue fighting, saying “This is about defending our right to self determination.”
In a text message to Reuters, Debretsion said the federal forces’ “brutality can only add [to] our resolve to fight these invaders to the last.”