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Air strike hits capital of Ethiopia’s Tigray region

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NAIROBI (Reuters) -An air strike hit Mekelle, the capital of Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, on Tuesday, wounding at least one person, a local hospital official said.

The air strike happened two days after Tigray’s regional government said it was ready for a ceasefire without preconditions and would accept an African Union-led peace process to try to end its war with the central government, which erupted in November 2020.

The Ethiopian government has not yet provided an official response to the talks and ceasefire offer by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the party that governs Tigray.

Kibrom Gebreselassie, the chief executive officer of Mekelle’s Ayder Hospital, said the hospital had received one wounded person from Tuesday’s air strike.

He said the person who brought the wounded person to the hospital said the strike hit the business campus of Mekelle University and Dimitsi Woyane TV station, which the regional government runs.

Getachew Reda, spokesperson for the regional government, said on Twitter (NYSE:) that the business campus had been hit by drones.

Ethiopian military spokesperson Colonel Getnet Adane and government spokesperson Legesse Tulu did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The air strike is the third to hit Mekelle since the conflict re-erupted late last month, ending a five-month lull in hostilities. Each side has blamed the other for the resumption of fighting.

The Tigrayan regional government’s statement on Sunday backing the AU-led peace process was described by international powers as a potential breakthrough.

Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, who has been tasked by the AU with mediating between the two sides, met with the American envoy to the Horn of Africa region, Mike Hammer, on Monday, according to a tweet by Djibouti’s former ambassador to Ethiopia, Mohamed Idriss Farah, who also attended the meeting.

The TPLF dominated national politics for nearly three decades until Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018.

The TPLF has accused Abiy of centralising power at the expense of Ethiopia’s regions. Abiy denies this and has accused the Tigrayan forces of trying to reclaim power, which they have denied.

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