Ethiopia’s army has said it had taken control of Mekele, the capital of the embattled northern Tigray region on Saturday.
Officials said they were now hunting for the dissident leaders. The announcement came after heavy shelling was reported in Mekele. The army Chief General Berhanu Jula told the press that over 7000 soldiers have been freed.
"We are looking for anti-peace forces hiding in every nook and cranny. We freed more than 7000 North division soldiers. We control our North division camp and all tanks and heavy weapons", General Jula said.
Earlier on Saturday, the local government said that heavy shelling had rocked the centre of Mekele.This statement was confirmed by two humanitarian officials with staff in the city, AFP reports.
More than three weeks of fighting in Tigray has left thousands of people dead, with tens of thousands more fleeing to Sudan for refuge.
Prime Minister and winner of last year's Nobel Peace Prize, Abiy Ahmed announced November 4 that he had ordered military operations against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).
On Thursday, he ordered a "final" offensive against the Tigray military. The TPLF was contacted on Saturday after the army's statement but could not be reached immediately.