Addis Ababa — Dear fellow Ethiopians,
The second phase of the law enforcement actions we began in the Tigray Region has been completed. We are now in the final and third phases.
In prior weeks, we had already stated that the law enforcement action we are taking has three phases. The first was to remobilize and strengthen our defence forces who were attacked by their own people and restore the broken chain of command to enable them to carry out their mandate effectively. As a result, the defence forces quickly recovered, with great perseverance, passion and courage, from the tragic attacks they encountered. Carrying the full support of the Ethiopian people at heart, the National Defence Forces are moving forward in different directions, with great haste and speed, to bring the treasonous TPLF clique to justice.
The main objective of the second phase of the operation was to remove the TPLF militia from various areas; decrease its destructive capabilities; liberate the people of Tigray from the grips of the treasonous cli que and encircle the city of Mekelle, where the TPLF clique is in hiding. In addition, the second phase also included the following objectives: liberating the areas outside Mekelle city which were under the TPLF treasonous clique; recovering looted weapons and camp sites; seizing strategic weaponry that the TPLF militia looted before they are able to use them for destructive purposes; rescuing members of the national defence force who were held captive; burying our deceased national heroes and protecting from harm our endangered and vulnerable citizens in the region.
Accordingly, the national defence force has marched forward liberating our citizens victoriously in Dansha, Humera, Shire, Shiraro, Axum, Adwa, Adigrat, Alamata, Chercher, Mehoni, Korem and other places. In our law enforcement operations, all the necessary precautionary measures have been taken to ensure that civilians are not harmed. Great care has been taken to protect historical monuments , places of worship, public facilities, infrastructure, natural resources, and the likes. Although the TPLF clique want severe damages to occur, our military planes have been very careful not to harm civilians, to t he extent where missions have been abort ed on identifying civilians around target areas.
This way, the irresponsible TPLF clique have not managed to satisfy their desire for the national defence force to attack religious institutions and heritage sites, which they are using as cover. The military has demonstrated its ability to carry out its mission wisely. In liberated areas, elders have begun to reorganize the people; our defence force have started to provide support to victims and to assist the people understand the situation and make themselves part of the process. People in liberated areas have resumed t heir activities with the protection of Federal forces.
The second phase of the operation has now limit ed and concentrated TPLF's capacity to Mekelle. All that the clique is left with is the fort that they have set up in Mekelle and empty pride. The people have clearly demonstrated their allegiance with our defence forces in their mission to ensure the rule of law. The people of Tigray have seen for themselves that the TPLF's propaganda about the army is wrong.
The people of Tigray are witnessing the kindness and sacrifices of the army. In every area, communities are breaking bread with the defence force; pointing out the paths of the treasonous militia, and exposing hidden weapons and equipment. In this manner, the people of Tigray have already shown that they have had enough of the violence perpetrated against them by the TPLF.
When the army entered Shire, the people erupted in joy, and handed over more than 200 weapons to our troops which they were given by the militia to attack the army. Similarly, when our forces arrived in Axum, the people themselves liberated the members of the army that were held by the TPLF, treated the wounded, and connected them with our national troops. The people of Axum requested the defence force to remain with them, and expressed their commitment to support in the law enforcement operations. When our army entered the town of Adigrat, the people themselves captured the TPLF special forces and militia in hiding and also handed them over to our defence force.
The TPLF clique's militia fled away destroying many infrastructures, schools and health facilities, roads and bridges which were assets for the country. The destruction of the historic Axum airport by the extremists has left a lasting scar on our tourism industry which will take years to recover. Not only have these destructive forces demolished roads that the people of Tigray use for thei r day to day activities, they have also shown t heir disregard for the people of Mekelle and the city itself by threatening to turn Mekelle into a war zone.
The law enforcement operation has now reached t he third and crucial phase. This third phase is the final step in bringing the treasonous TPLF clique to justice. Clearly, it requires a great deal of wisdom, caution, and patience.
The clique has made it clear that it has no compassion for its people, its history, its culture, its heritage and its beliefs. That is why it would be satisfied if everything disappeared and the clique alone survived to escape the law. With this disregard for the people of Tigray and other Ethiopians, they are using religious sites, hotels, government institutions, residential areas, schools, monuments, and even cemeteries as hideouts in Mekelle. It is apparent that the TPLF clique in its demise, seems committed to take with it many innocent victims of its hateful and divisive propaganda. Like terrorist groups we have seen in some countries that do not care about the people or the country, they have taken Mekelle city hostage and are treating it as a war zone rather than the home that it is for many innocent Ethiopians.
As the people of Mekelle who are now confronted with the prospect of destruction are our citizens and as the responsibility to rebuild the city rests on our shoulders, we believe greatly that our law enforcement action in Mekelle should be done in a way that results in minimal damage and causalities. Therefore, I would like to express to all that we will take ultimate care and all precautionary measures to protect the people and city of Mekelle in successfully carrying out our rule of law mission to its conclusion.
Firstly, we call upon the people of Mekelle to play a key role in bringing this treasonous group to justice by standing in solidarity with the national defence force in this law enforcement action. No lives should be lost and no property should be destroyed for the sake of a few greedy individuals that are seeking impunity using their own people as human shields. Hence, the cooperation of the people of Mekelle will play an import ant role and will minimize the damage.
Secondly, the members of the Tigray Special Forces and Militia, who are carrying out the mission of the destructive clique are also called upon to surrender peacefully. Realizing that we are now in the final stages of the law enforcement action, we call upon them to take advantage of this last opportunity and surrender peacefully to the government within 72 hours.
Thirdly, to members of the destructive TPLF clique, your journey of destruction is coming to an end, and we urge you to surrender peacefully within the next 72 hours, recognizing t ha t you are at a point of no return. Take this last opportunity. We call on you to refrain from further massacres and destruction of cities and save yourselves from being condemned forever in the books of history.
Finally, what we would like the entire Ethiopian people to understand is that the federal government is prepared in all aspects to proceed to the third phase of law enforcement action, along with the task of returning those who have fled their homes; to rehabilitate the displaced, to repair the damaged infrastructure and to help citizens in the liberated areas return to their normal lives. We call upon all Ethiopians to be their brothers' and sisters' keeper along the road of recovery and healing. Since we Ethiopians have a long history of mutual support, we must assist our people without waiting for external support. To this end, I urge everyone to join the efforts of the government and various community activities that have been started.
God bless Ethiopia and its people!
November 22, 2020