Ethiopian Finance Minister Ahmed Shide discussed the government’s ongoing military offensive against the northern Tigray region and its capital Mekele. Shide said government forces had “liberated” significant areas of the region and that military operations “will be completed soon”.

Shide called the conflict a “law-and-order operation” and claimed that the aim was to “protect the Tigrayan people from the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) junta”, which he accused of “committing different atrocities”.

The finance minister cited an alleged November 9 massacre in the town of Mai-Kadre in the region, where the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) says that a local youth group helped kill hundreds of civilians, charges that followed an Amnesty International report that “scores, and likely hundreds” were killed.

“The state has to protect itself,” Shide.

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