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NAIROBI/ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The Ethiopian government rebuffed an African effort to mediate on Saturday, saying its troops had seized another town in their march towards the rebel-held capital of northern Tigray region.

More than two weeks into Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s offensive, the government says Tigrayan forces are bulldozing roads and destroyed bridges to hold up the advance on regional capital Mekelle, home to about half a million people.

The Tigrayans have promised “hell” for their advancing enemies. They have denied destroying bridges but were not reachable for comment about ploughing up roads.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, have died and more than 30,000 refugees have fled to Sudan since the conflict erupted on Nov. 4. The fighting has spread beyond Tigray, whose forces have fired rockets at the neighbouring Amhara region and the nation of Eritrea, spurring concern of a wider war and the splintering of multi-ethnic Ethiopia.

Abiy’s government has said it will soon reach Mekelle after taking various surrounding towns. On Saturday it said Adigrat had also fallen, about 116 km (72 miles) north of Mekelle.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebels said nine civilians had died among heavy casualties in artillery hits on Adigrat. Read More

By Ian Dei

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