ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian government on Saturday announced the capture of cities from Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters in different directions across the restive Tigray regional state.
"The Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) took full control of Axum, Adwa and the surrounding areas of Adigrat," the state of emergency task force established by the federal government to watch over the ongoing military operations against the TPLF, said in a statement.
"Our Defense Forces, who are advancing towards the hideouts of the TPLF militia, were confronted with a siege in Selehleha after conquering Shire," it said, adding that "the TPLF militia, which had taken refuge in Selehleha, cut off roads with dozers and damaged the asphalt."
"Nevertheless, the ENDF broke into their defenses and took full control of the city of Axum," the statement read.
According to the Ethiopian government, on the way from Axum to Adwa, "the TPLF militia tried to defend itself in some areas, but was defeated by our defense forces who took full control of Adwa."
The ENDF is now advancing to Adigrat city after taking full control of its surroundings, it was noted.
The Ethiopian government also disclosed that its forces are now on course to the regional capital, Mekelle, where many believe senior TPLF leaders are presently stationed.
"Many of the TPLF militia have surrendered, including the ENDF soldiers that sided with the junta," the statement read.
Since the early hours of Nov. 4, the Ethiopian government has been undertaking military operations against the TPLF, which rules over Ethiopia's northernmost Tigray regional state.
The federal government's operation followed the TPLF's attack on the Northern command base of the Ethiopian Defense Force, a division stationed in the region for over two decades and based in Mekelle city, capital of Tigray region.
Amid the ongoing fighting, the United Nations Refugee Agency had warned that a full-scale humanitarian crisis is unfolding as thousands of refugees flee each day amid ongoing conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region to seek safety into Sudan.
According to the agency, women, men and children have been crossing the border at the rate of 4,000 per day since November 10, rapidly overwhelming the humanitarian response capacity on the ground.
The UN agency is presently supporting the Sudanese government in its response, ramping up humanitarian assistance at the borders as the needs continue to grow.
The Ethiopian government has also established a committee to address humanitarian concern in the country's restive northern Tigray regional state, said Redwan Hussein, spokesman of a newly-established State of Emergency Task Force for the Tigray conflict. Enditem