US Secretary of State disturbed by news of Tigray People’s Liberation Front seizing two towns By Reuters – News Couple

US Secretary of State disturbed by news of Tigray People’s Liberation Front seizing two towns By Reuters

NAIROBI (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Monday he was concerned by reports that Tigrayan rebel forces had captured the main Ethiopian towns of Disi and Kombolcha.

“The continuation of the fighting prolongs the dire humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia. All parties must stop military operations and start ceasefire negotiations without preconditions,” he said.

On Sunday, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said its fighters were in control of Kombolcha and its airport.

The capture of Kombolcha would be a strategic gain for the fighters against the army of Ethiopia and their allies, who are trying to expel the Tigrayans from the Amhara region.

The large town is located on a major highway about 380 kilometers (235 miles) from the capital, Addis Ababa, and is the southernmost in Amhara that the TPLF has reached since entering the area in July.

A day earlier, it said it had also captured Disi in Ethiopia’s Amhara region, where tens of thousands of ethnic Amharas had sought refuge from the escalation of the fighting. The government denied this.

The war broke out nearly a year ago between federal forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which had dominated Ethiopian politics for nearly 30 years before Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was appointed in 2018.

The conflict has killed thousands of civilians and forced more than two million people to flee their homes.

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