AU mediators visit war-devastated Tigray

African Union mediators are visiting Ethiopia’s war-devastated Tigray region in their latest effort to implement a peace deal signed by the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo and South Africa’s former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka are in the regional capital, Mekelle, for talks with TPLF leaders.

This is their first visit to Mekelle since the peace deal was signed on 2 November.

Little food, medication and other essentials have reached Tigray, despite Mr Obasanjo saying on 12 November that aid should have gone in “yesterday”.

The region has been under a government blockade since the war started more than two years ago.

Some researchers estimate that famine, a lack of health care and fighting has caused the deaths of more than 300,000 civilians.

Another major issue is the disarmament of Tgrayan forces, and the withdrawal of Eritrean forces deployed to bolster federal government troops fighting the TPLF.

The US – which had observer status during the peace talks – has called for this to happen “concurrently”.

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