Tigray capital back on Ethiopia power grid after a year of war-related cuts

Mekele

A view of Mekele, the capital of Tigray Region, Ethiopia.

Photo credit: AFP

The capital of Ethiopia's Tigray region, Mekele, has been reconnected to the national power grid after more than a year of cuts caused by war, the country's electricity operator has said.

The Tuesday announcement came a month after a peace deal between the federal government and Tigrayan rebels aimed at ending a brutal two-year conflict and humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia.

The power control centre in Mekele and its line were "connected to the national power grid after repair work was finished", Ethiopian Electric Power said in a statement.

Access to and communications in Tigray are limited or banned and it is impossible to independently verify the situation on the ground.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops to Ethiopia's northernmost region in November 2020, accusing the local governing party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), of attacking federal army camps.

The war spread to the neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara and drew in Eritrean forces, leaving Tigray devastated and short of access to basic services including banking, electricity, fuel and communications for more than a year.

On November 2, the government and the TPLF signed an agreement in South Africa aimed at ending the hostilities, withdrawing and disarming Tigrayan fighters, restoring federal government authority and reopening access to the region.

Ahmed told Ethiopian lawmakers last month that the authorities had begun to restore telecommunications and electricity in some areas affected by the conflict.

The toll of the war is unclear, but the International Crisis Group think-tank and Amnesty International have described it as one of the bloodiest in the world.

All sides have been accused of abuses, while the United Nations says more than two million Ethiopians have been displaced and that hundreds of thousands are in extreme food insecurity.

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