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Ethiopia says military operation in Tigray region is over, hunt for Tigray leaders begins

The TPLF and Eritrean forces fought together against Mengistu, but relations later soured after Eritrea became independent in 1993. The two nations fought over a border dispute in 1998-2000 and the TPLF sees Eritrea as a mortal enemy.

Eritrea signed a peace deal with Abiy in 2018, and the prime minister won the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

EXPLOSIONS IN ERITREA’S CAPITAL

Six explosions were reported in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, on Saturday night, the U.S. State Department said, although it was not immediately clear if they were related to the Tigray conflict. The State Department post did not mention the cause or location of the explosions.

Tigrayan forces fired rockets at Eritrea on Nov. 14.

Reuters was unable to reach the Eritrean government or Tigrayan forces for comment.

The TPLF, which denounces Abiy’s warm relations with Eritrea, has accused Eritrea of sending troops to Tigray to join the Ethiopian government’s fight.

It has not been possible to contact the Eritrean government for comment on this.

The TPLF also accuses Abiy of wanting to centralize control at the expense of Ethiopia’s 10 regions. The constitution grants the regions wide-ranging powers over matters like taxation and security.

Abiy has denied he wants to centralize power.

This year, Abiy postponed elections scheduled for August to next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Calling this a power grab, the TPLF held its own regional elections in September and announced it no longer recognized federal authority. Abiy’s government declared the Tigray election illegal.

(Reporting by Addis Ababa and Nairobi newsrooms Writing by Katharine Houreld and Maggie Fick Editing by Robert Birsel, William Mallard and Frances Kerry)

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