Ethiopian police enter Tigray capital under peace agreement

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia’s federal police said Thursday that its members have entered the Tigray region’s capital Mekele for the first time in more than a year, under last month’s peace deal between the federal government and Tigray leaders.

The peace agreement ended the conflict between federal and regional forces that started in November 2020 and according to U.S. estimates claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, displacing millions of people.

The federal police said on Facebook that officers in Mekele will “protect federal properties as part of the country’s constitution,” and will be guarding airports, power and telecom installations and banks.

Photos shared by state media outlets in Ethiopia showed hundreds of police officers entering Mekele in convoys.

Basic services and humanitarian aid deliveries are gradually resuming in the northern Tigray region. On Thursday, the towns of Adirkay, Enchiko, May Tsebri and Rama were reconnected to the power network after more than a year and half off the grid.

Ethiopian Airlines, which launched a scheduled flight to Mekele on Wednesday, also announced it was resuming services to the town of Shire and increasing flights to Mekele due to strong demand.

On Thursday, a delegation from the African Union and the Ethiopian government arrived in Mekele to set up an agreed mission to monitor progress in implementing the peace deal.

Three African army generals have been assigned to lead the monitoring team and ambassadors from 32 countries entered Mekele on Thursday.

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