NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The interim administration in Ethiopia’s Tigray region is asking the federal government for a ceasefire to allow the delivery of desperately needed aid after nearly eight months of war, while people in the regional capital of Mekele say Ethiopian soldiers are leaving the city.
The announcement by the interim administration, appointed by Ethiopia’s federal government, comes amid some of the fiercest fighting in the conflict and as some Mekele residents anticipate the arrival of Tigray forces.
The ceasefire is needed on humanitarian grounds and to “avoid further damage,” the interim administration said. Its head, Abraham Belay, told the state-owned Ethiopian News Agency the call comes now because the crucial farming season is approaching and aid needs to reach the hungry.
“The government has the responsibility to find a political solution to the problem,” he said, adding that some elements within Tigray’s former ruling party are willing to engage with the federal government.
Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, and international pressure on Ethiopia spiked again last week after a military airstrike on a busy market in Tigray killed more than 60 people.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people now face famine conditions as witnesses allege that combatants have looted crops and other food sources.
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