NAIROBI (Reuters) – Ethiopia said on Wednesday its military had killed three members of the Tigray region’s former ruling party, including former Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin.
The three Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) officials were killed, and five other party members were captured, after they refused to surrender to the military, the government’s task force for the crisis in Tigray said on Twitter.
Seyoum Mesfin's killing 'big blow for TPLF'
He was an influential Tigray People's Liberian Front (TPLF) figure & after serving as foreign minister for 19 years he became involved in the South Sudan peace talks as the chief mediator. #Ethiopia https://t.co/C7aW32SI6t via @BBCNews pic.twitter.com/AJxi5yONfY
— Ameyu Etana (@ameyuetana) January 13, 2021
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government declared victory in its conflict with the TPLF on Nov. 28 last year after nearly a month of fighting.
Fugitive leaders of the TPLF had vowed to continue to fight from the mountains of the region in northern Ethiopia, but Reuters has been unable to contact them for weeks.
The military said last week it had captured Sebhat Nega, a founding member of the TPLF.
Seyoum Mesfin, Abay Tsehaye, Asmelash Woldeselassie & Col Kiros Hagos have been killed in fire exchanges undertaken with their personal security. Five key TPLF affiliated former army commanders have been apprehended. Hunting the heads of TPLF is still a head! It’s their day pic.twitter.com/AI7htFXIza
— Mohamed Hussein (@abdi_hussei) January 13, 2021
At the weekend, it said it had killed 15 members of the TPLF and captured eight others, according to state-run TV.
Seyoum was Ethiopia’s foreign minister from 1991 to 2010.
Air strikes and battles since early November in Tigray are believed to have killed thousands of people. Fighting is continuing in some parts and more than 2 million people need aid, the United Nations said this week.
Reuters has been unable to verify claims by either side since phone and internet connections to the Tigray region are down and access to the area is strictly controlled.