ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) — Telecommunication services have restarted in Mekele, the rebel-held capital of northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region, an official said Wednesday.
Frehiwot Tamiru, chief executive officer (CEO) of the state-owned telecoms operator, Ethio-Telecom, said a successful phone call was made Wednesday after more than a year of communication blackout caused by the northern Ethiopia conflict. “The restart of telecommunication services in (Mekele) has enabled 61 bank branches to re-enter into service,” the state-owned Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) reported, quoting Tamiru as saying. Tamiru also said the state firm has managed to rehabilitate 981 km of telecommunication fiber lines, resulting in 27 cities and towns across the region managing to receive telecommunication services once again.
Earlier on Wednesday, Ethiopia’s flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, resumed flights to Mekele two days after a delegation of Ethiopian government officials visited the city, the first time since the conflict erupted in November 2020. The latest developments came after a permanent cessation of hostilities agreement signed on Nov. 2 between the Ethiopian government, and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) which now controls parts of the northernmost region. The deal also includes restoration of law and order, withdrawal of foreign and non-Ethiopian army forces, restoration of services and unhindered access to humanitarian supplies.
Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, has seen a devastating conflict between government-allied troops and forces loyal to the TPLF for the past two years, which left thousands dead and millions more in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.