Thousands killed in Ethiopia’s conflict, Tigray side asserts

Thousands killed in Ethiopia’s conflict, Tigray side asserts
With the leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front on the run in rugged territory, fears of a drawn-out conflict continue. (File/AFP)
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Updated 04 December 2020

Thousands killed in Ethiopia’s conflict, Tigray side asserts

Thousands killed in Ethiopia’s conflict, Tigray side asserts
  • Ethiopian forces over the weekend announced they had “full control” of the Tigray capital, Mekele, a city of a half-million people

NAIROBI, Kenya: Several thousand combatants have been killed in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region, an official with the fugitive regional government has asserted, although claims remain difficult to verify a month after the fighting erupted between Ethiopian and regional forces.
Getachew Reda, a senior adviser to the Tigray leader, in an interview with Tigray TV aired Thursday urged young people and others in the region to “rise and deploy to battle in tens of thousands” days after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed over the weekend declared victory.
With the leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front on the run in rugged territory, fears of a drawn-out conflict continue. But with communications and transport links still largely severed to the region of 6 million people, it’s difficult to know the situation on the ground, including the extent of popular support for the TPLF and the number of people killed.
“Our capacity to resist ultimately depends on the support we get from our people,” Getachew said. “It is possible to have the scenario where we stop everything and turn all the people into soldiers.”
He didn’t say how many people are actively fighting but said “our army is doing amazing things with limited numbers,” and he claimed there had been tens of thousands of deaths among Ethiopian forces and those from neighboring Eritrea, which the TPLF insists is also involved. Ethiopia’s government denies that.
Getachew also acknowledged casualties on the TPLF side but didn’t say how many.
Ethiopian forces over the weekend announced they had “full control” of the Tigray capital, Mekele, a city of a half-million people. Getachew said their side had made a “strategic withdrawal” from the city to minimize destruction.
It is not clear how many people were killed as Ethiopian forces moved in on Mekele, but the International Committee of the Red Cross over the weekend said the city’s largest hospital had run out of body bags and staff suspended other services to focus on the wounded.
Ethiopian government spokesman Redwan Hussein didn’t immediately respond to a question about the current estimated death toll in the conflict.


LIVE: Donald Trump leaves White House ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania make their way to board Marine One before departing from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on January 20, 2021. (AFP)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania make their way to board Marine One before departing from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on January 20, 2021. (AFP)
Updated 1 min 3 sec ago

LIVE: Donald Trump leaves White House ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania make their way to board Marine One before departing from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on January 20, 2021. (AFP)
  • Joe Biden will be sworn in later on Wednesday afternoon
  • Ceremony will take place amid heightened tensions and a massive security operatio

LONDON: The US is braced for one of the highest profile handovers of the presidency in its history. Donald Trump left the White House on Wednesday with First Lady Melania, before attending a military send-off at Joint Base Andrews.

Joe Biden will be sworn in at 5 p.m. GMT (8 p.m. KSA) and take the oath of office alongside Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

The ceremony will take place amid heightened tensions and a massive security operation after a deadly riot at the US Capitol earlier this month.

Follow live updates of the inauguration below (all times GMT):

14:15 - President-elect Biden attended church ahead of his inauguration, in a traditional step taken ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.

Biden and incoming first lady Jill Biden were at Washington’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. With them were incoming Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff.

At Biden’s invitation, the first couple was joined by a bipartisan group of members of Congress, including all four top-ranking members of congressional leadership.

14:00 - Trump said he will be “back in some form” before boarding Air Force One for Florida.

“This has been an incredible four years,” Trump said in brief remarks to staff, supporters and members of his family gathered at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington. “We’ve accomplished so much together, I will always fight for you. We will be back in some form.”

Trump did not address Biden by name but said he wishs the new administration “great luck and great success.”

13:30 - Trump makes his final speech as President of the United States, saying it had been the greatest honor of his life. Watch it below: