Ethiopia: Flights, key services resume in Tigray region after two years

Travellers arriving from Tigray are greeted by relatives at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa as flights resume in the northernmost region. (AFP)

MEKELLE - The National carrier Ethiopian Airlines has resumed daily flights to Tigray rejoin after months of turmoil, in what comes three weeks after the operator pledged to start operations to Mekelle, the regional administrative capital of Tigray and other strategic surrounding towns such as Shire.

The resumption of the flights comes following the historic peace deal which saw the Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF] and government sign the peace deal both in Pretoria and Nairobi, effectively ending over two years of the political standoff that led to the deaths of thousands of people.

On Wednesday [today], the daily flights are set to commence a further indication of political goodwill from either party. Besides the flights, the Tigray region is also struggling with power outages and a lack of communication networks which were cut off at the peak of the standoff.

Mesfin Tasew, the head of the airline, said the resumption of the flights will help hundreds of people reunite with their loved ones in the northern region. Last year, CNN investigations accused the airline of transporting weapons to Tigray with an aim of triggering the extermination of the Tigray people.

Officials from Addis Ababa led by Speaker Tagese Chafo and Redwan Hussein, the advisor to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have been in Tigray to assess the situation. This was the first time in as many months national officials were visiting Tigray.

The visitation comes a few days after Tigray People's Liberation Front accused Eritrean troops of still refusing to leave half of the region along with the Amhara regional militia, who have been camping in Western Tigray. Immediate withdrawal and disengagement were one of the agreements for the cessation of hostilities.

Already, a number of TPLF teams have started surrounding their weapons to allow the national government to restore activities in fullness according to the agreement which was signed in November. The government has maintained that it is ready to obey the peace deal for the sake of peace and tranquility.


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