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Tigray forces accuse Ethiopia of new drone strikes

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Forces in the war-torn northern Ethiopian region of Tigray have accused the government of carrying out fresh drone attacks in the regional capital, Mekelle, two days after they said they were ready for an immediate ceasefire.

The government has not yet responded to the accusations.

It is close to three weeks since violence flared up again after a five-month truce.

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A senior Tigrayan official, Getachew Reda, said that the target of the drone strikes was a university campus.

There is no independent confirmation of the claim due to an ongoing communications blackout.

Speaking to the BBC Newsday programme, Getachew said peace was still their “strategic choice”, saying the fighting had been imposed on them.

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“Peace being our strategic choice, we still insist that what’s essentially a political problem can only be solved through dialogue,” he told the BBC.

Getachew, along with a senior general, Tsadkan Gebretensay, has been appointed by the Tigrayan forces for negotiations with the government.

Getachew told the BBC on Tuesday that one of the conditions they were seeking in the negotiations was “the government’s willingness to abandon the use of force to impose its will in Tigray”.

He said the will of Tigrayans should be respected and they should be allowed to exercise “unfettered freedom”.

“Nothing short of that freedom will be accepted,” he said

Although Addis Ababa had previously set up a seven-member team to negotiate on behalf of the government, it has not officially responded to the latest statements by the Tigrayans that they would accept the African Union mediation efforts.—BBC

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