Diplomatic sources in Addis Ababa also said they expected the conflict to escalate in the coming days as the government mobilizes troops across the country and draws them closer to the Tigray region.
Adanech Abiebie, the mayor of the capital, Addis Ababa, confirmed in a series of tweets on Saturday that several TPLF members who worked in her administration had been arrested on suspicion of plans to disrupt the peace and engage in terrorist activities.
In order to take control of the troubled region, Mr. Abiy’s government blocked internet and telephone networks in Tigray, declared a six-month state of emergency, and approved the formation of an interim regional administration. A state of emergency task force was also created, with the power to impose curfews, make arrests and limit modes of transport.
On Saturday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned of escalating fighting in Tigray, saying the conflict’s blockade of air and road access was severely affecting humanitarian aid to hundreds of people. thousands of people.
He also said that nearly nine million people were “at high risk” of being affected by the escalation and that this could potentially lead to “massive displacement inside and outside Ethiopia” .
Sajjad Mohammad, the head of the United Nations humanitarian office in Ethiopia, said bread and fuel shortages were already emerging in the region.
“There are nearly two million people receiving some kind of humanitarian aid in Tigray,” he said. “If supply lines shut down, that number could increase further.”
Abdi Latif Dahir reported from Cairo and Simon Marks from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Tiksa Negeri contributed reporting from Gondar, Ethiopia.