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With the conflict between Ethiopian troops and forces from the northern Tigray region rapidly escalating this week, more than 14,500 refugees from the region have flooded into neighboring Sudan. United Nations officials are now warning of a looming humanitarian crisis. But Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is resisting international calls for de-escalation and negotiation until leaders of the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, have been captured and their military arsenal destroyed.
Abiy announced Thursday that federal troops had “liberated” Tigray’s western zone, including the regional capital, Mekele. But with independent observers barred from the region and communications cut, it is impossible to assess the progress of the government’s offensive. Officials say hundreds of people have been killed so far and the death toll is mounting further, as federal warplanes bomb strategic military sites and troops clash on the ground.