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Captured Ethiopian soldiers paraded in front of cheering crowds in Tigrayan capital

THOUSANDS of captured Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers have been paraded in the Tigrayan regional capital Mekele amid scenes of jubilation and cheers from local residents.

Footage smuggled out of the region by the Associated Press news agency and seen on Tuesday showed a remarkable turn of events in the city, which had been held for months by the forces of Ethiopia’s central government.

They took control after the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), which led the northern Ethiopian state’s government, was driven out by a military offensive last November.

The TPLF have rejected a unilateral ceasefire announced by the retreating army of the central government, vowing to chase its soldiers out of the entire Tigray region.

Tigrayan President Debretsion Gebremichael said that his forces had captured 6,000 Ethiopian and Eritrean troops, adding that the region needed urgent humanitarian aid, including food and medicine which has been blocked by Addis Ababa.

“We are committed to keep them [the prisoners] well as long as they are with us,” he said. 

“And after a while, yes, our plan is [for them] to live — they have to be free — wherever they want.”

But if evidence emerged that any prisoner had committed an atrocity in the war, Mr Gebremichael said, “we will keep them because they have to go to court.”

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