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Ethiopian leader defends military conflict in defiant Tigray

Ethiopia’s prime minister has sought to defend a major military action against the country’s defiant Tigray region Sunday, and urged citizens not to target the ethnic Tigrayan people amid fears of civil war

NAIROBI, Kenya — Ethiopia’s prime minister has sought to defend a major military action against the country’s defiant Tigray region Sunday, and urged citizens not to target the ethnic Tigrayan people amid fears of civil war.

At least 60 people have been wounded and six killed in one location along the Tigray border alone, Doctors Without Borders said Saturday, and the United Nations warns of a major humanitarian crisis if millions flee all-out fighting or if the Tigray region remains cut off from the world.

The conflict pits two heavily armed forces against each other in the heart of the strategic but vulnerable Horn of Africa region, and experts worry that neighboring countries, including Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia could be sucked in.

Diplomats and others assert that the conflict in Tigray could destabilize other parts of Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country with 110 million people, scores of ethnic groups and other regions that have sought more autonomy even as the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tries to hold the country together with exhortations of national unity.

Communications remain largely cut off in Tigray, with airports and roads closed.

The Tigray leader in a letter to the African Union chair, seen by The Associated Press, has warned that Ethiopian forces are preparing to launch a large-scale offensive.

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ABC News: International

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