22:37 GMT27 July 2021
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    WASHINGTON, July 2 (Sputnik) - The US State Department issued an alert on Friday urging Americans in the Tigray region to shelter in place amid the current unrest following clashes between the Ethiopian government and local rebel forces.

    On Monday, the Ethiopian government declared an unconditional ceasefire in the province following the recapture of the regional capital of Mekelle by rebel forces that prompted government forces to retreat. However, the government's military has threatened to send troops back into Tigray, highlighting the fragility of any current calm in the region.

    "US citizens in Tigray should shelter in place. We are working on relocation plans for US citizens in Mekele," the alert said. "If you are a US citizen in Tigray or you have a US citizen family member in Mekele, please contact us."

    Clashes in the province of Tigray erupted in November after the Ethiopian government accused the local ruling party — the Tigray People's Liberation Front — of ambushing a regional army post to hijack weapons and arm the anti-government militia. The Tigray region has been occupied by the Ethiopian military since, leading to fighting with the rebels.

    An estimated two million of Tigray's six million people are reported to have fled their homes and an estimated 900,000 people are likely experiencing famine conditions. In addition, about 33,000 severely malnourished children are projected to face imminent risk of death if more aid is not forthcoming to the people of Tigray.

    Related:

    Tigray Rebels Repel Ethiopian Forces, Take Control of Regional Capital - Reports
    Ethiopia Declares Unconditional Ceasefire in Tigray Province - Reports
    Ethiopian Army Leaves Regional Capital as Tigray Rebels Reject 'Joke' of Ceasefire Declaration
    Tags:
    Ethiopia, Tigray forces, State Department, US
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