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Thousands of displaced Tigrayans demand to be allowed to return home

Displaced Tigrayans look out from a balcony from a makeshift home in Mekele   -  
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Ben Curtis/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved


Thousands of people displaced by the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region staged protests on Tuesday demanding to be able to return home and calling for the withdrawal of 'invading forces', local media reported.

Demonstrators in several cities, including the regional capital Mekele, shouted “stop the ongoing genocide” and held placards demanding they be allowed to return home before the farming season gets underway.

It’s not know how many civilians died in the two-year war, but one expert puts that number at over half a million, many of them from starvation.

Although the fighting ended with a surprise truce in November last year, and humanitarian aid is being restored to the region, numerous challenges remain to cement the peace.

Eritrea's army, as well as military forces from the neighbouring region of Amhara, played a key role on the Tigray battlefield in support of Ethiopian government forces.

Amhara forces still control western Tigray, a disputed region claimed by both Amharas and Tigrayans, while Eritrean troops are also believed to have a presence in border areas.

About 90 per cent of Tigray's six million people, who were largely cut off from the outside world during the conflict, rely on humanitarian aid.

Protesters said they want to be able to get home before the rainy season so they can plant crops and grow enough food for their families to eat.

The head of the Tigray interim regional administration, Getachew Reda, said last week his authority was committed to ensuring those displaced are able to return home.

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