Mekele is reclaimed by the rebels,celebration in Tigray,Tigray region

As the Tigrayan capital, Mekele is reclaimed by the rebels, there is jubilation in Tigray

Thousands of people flocked into the streets of Mekele, the Tigrayan capital, on Friday. As rebel forces reclaimed the once-besieged city, there was cause for rejoicing.

The red and yellow Tigrayan flag was hoisted by throngs of ecstatic citizens. In Mekele, supporters danced and clapped as they greeted the returning Tigray Defense Force members.

As the rebels marched through town on foot, locals lined the streets. Some piled into lorries, while others reached out from passing buses to touch them. On Monday, the rebels marched into the city. It comes after the withdrawal of local officials and federal forces.

The Tigray Defence Force has gained additional control of land in Tigray, Ethiopia’s northernmost region, since moving on Mekele. They promised to expel all of the country’s “enemies,” including federal soldiers and their sympathizers, particularly from Eritrea and Ethiopia’s Amhara region.

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The government in Addis Ababa, for its part, has urged the rebels to respect its unilateral ceasefire. “It takes two to tango,” said Dina Mufti, a spokesman for the foreign ministry, on Thursday.

However, with two vital access routes damaged this week, there are new concerns about the predicament of hundreds of thousands of people in the region who are suffering from starvation.

And while Mekele has fared better than some of Tigray’s more isolated areas, the city nonetheless carries the wounds of a battle that saw a great deal of civilian suffering. 

Many of the city’s schools have been used as displaced persons’ camps.