BY TESFANEWS *
The Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) killed the conflict-hit Tigray region’s former ruling party, including ex-Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin, during a battle in the country’s northern Tigray regional state.
Brigadier General Tesfaye Ayalew, Head of the ENDF Deployment Department, said Seyoum Mesfin was killed alongside Asmelash Woldeselassie, former Ethiopia parliament Chief Whip and Abay Tsehaye, former Ethiopia Minister of Federal Affairs during a battle earlier on Wednesday.
The three Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) officials were killed after they refused to surrender to the military, Ayalew said.
Five other civilian officials and army officers were captured in the military operation, he added.
Seyoum was Ethiopia’s foreign minister from 1991 until 2010.
Ethiopia’s federal government has been undertaking military operations in the Tigray regional state since November 4 against the TPLF, which used to rule over the region, following the TPLF’s “preemptive strike” against the Northern Command, triggering the war and the demise of the TPLF front.
Fugitive leaders of the TPLF led by Debretsion Gebremichael had promised to continue to fight from the mountains of the region in northern Ethiopia, but their whereabouts are still unknown.
The military said last week it had captured Sebhat Nega, a founding member and former chairman of the outlawed TPLF.
At the weekend, it said it had killed 15 members of the TPLF and captured eight others.
The Ethiopian government has been blaming the TPLF, which was one of the four coalition fronts of Ethiopia’s former ruling party the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), for masterminding various treasonous acts across different parts of the country with an overarching goal of destabilizing the East African country.
Three of the former four EPRDF coalition members had last year joined other regional parties in establishing the Prosperity Party, while the TPLF refused to join.
The mounting differences between the federal government and TPLF exacerbated in September last year when the Tigray regional government decided to go with its planned “unconstitutional” regional elections, which the Ethiopian parliament had previously postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.