Addis Ababa — Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the final phase of law enforcement operation has begun against the TPLF clique in Tigray Regional State hours after an ultimatum for Tigray forces to surrender expired.
Abiy twitted that "the 72-hour period granted to the criminal TPLF clique to surrender peacefully is now over and our law enforcement campaign has reached its final stage."
He stated within the past 72 hours, thousands of Tigray Special Forces and militias have surrendered to the Ethiopian National Defense (ENDF).
The Prime Minister added that many young Tigrayans, realizing the TPLF's evil intentions, have also refrained from engaging in the criminal clique's destructive ambitions.
Although this may have been a decision taken in the last hours, it is nevertheless a responsible decision that is expected of anyone with a conscience, he underscored.
Abiy noted that when the federal government issues the 72-hours surrender window, it had two objectives, one is to demonstrate the intention of the operation which is to enforce the rule of law per the laws of the land.
If the criminal TPLF clique chose to peacefully surrender, the campaign would have been finalized with the least amount of damage, he stated.
"To this end, we have provided the opportunity for peaceful surrender on numerous occasions in the past weeks," he said.
The second goal was to provide protection for those that finally understand the criminality of the TPLF clique and distance themselves for the group, Abiy noted.
He further stated that the last peaceful gate which had remained open for the TPLF clique is to walk through have now been closed as a result of its contempt for the people of Ethiopia.
However, thousands of members of the Tigray militia and Special Forces that have come to realize the destructive nature of TPLF and utilized the gates of peace and surrendered peacefully, he pointed out.
"The Ethiopian National Defense Forces have now been directed to conclude the third and final phase of our rule of law operations. In this final phase, great care will be given to protect innocent civilians from harm," he underscored.
He further affirmed that all efforts will be made to ensure the city of Mekelle, which was built through the handwork of the people, will not be severely damaged.
All precautions will be taken to ensure that heritage sites, places of worship, public facilities, development institutions and residential areas will not be targets.
Abiy also called on the people of Mekelle and its environs to disarm, stay at home and stay away from military targets, and take all necessary precautions.
"We also call on the people of Mekelle to do their part in reducing damages to be sustained because of a handful of criminal TPLF elements, by exposing and handing over the criminal clique over to law enforcement agents," he said.