Ethiopia’s government has announced an immediate, unilateral ceasefire Monday in its Tigray region following nearly eight months of conflict.
The ceasefire will last until the end of the planting season in Tigray, in September.
The ceasefire declaration came as Tigrayan troops retook its capital, Mekelle, on Monday evening. Tigray is rejecting the ceasefire.
A spokesman for the regional government of Tigray, Getachew Reda, said Monday that its forces had “broken the backbone of the Ethiopian army” per CNN.
“People are celebrating, the capital has been liberated from our enemies, but as far as I am concerned there is little to celebrate because we still have fighting to do,” he explained. “Our objectives are degrading the enemy’s fighting capabilities. This is a criminal army and we will follow it everywhere to make sure it doesn’t have the capacity to come back.”
“We will not stop until Tigray has been cleared of any and all enemy forces. We will do whatever it takes,” he concluded.
In November, the Ethiopian military took control of the majority of Tigray after launching a sustained assault with the backing of Eritrean soldiers and local ethnic militias. Ethiopia has been trying to remove the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) from power.
Abiy gave Tigrayan forces three days to yield while warning that government forces were “in the third and final phase” of their military operation in the area.
“We urge you to surrender peacefully within the next 72 hours, recognizing that you are at a point of no return,” he added.
Despite the ultimatum, the TPLF vowed to continue the fight.
“We are not concerned about timing, we are concerned about our final complete success,” said the president of the Tigray region, Debretsion Gebremichael, on Tigray TV.