Ethiopian PM says troops ordered to move on Tigray capital

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The military offensive "has reached its final stage" after three weeks of fighting, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office said. That means tanks and other weaponry can close in on Mekele, whose residents had been warned of "no mercy" if they didn't move away from Tigray leaders in time.

African Union envoys went to Ethiopia on Wednesday hours before an ultimatum was to expire for Tigrayan forces to surrender in a war that has shaken the northern region and killed thousands of its fighters according to one report.

A senior diplomat involved in the peace effort said he was surprised at the report of 10 000 Tigrayan casualties as it would imply pitched battles on a massive scale, and while that was not impossible he had seen no evidence.

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