Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who last year won the Nobel Peace Prize after reaching a pact with Eritrea and helped lead mediation efforts to curb violence in Sudan, has rejected the African Union's attempt to mediate talks between his own government and Tigray, a rebel-held northern Ethiopia region, Reuters reports.
Abiy reportedly plans to begin peace talks only after the government's forces capture leaders of the Tigray People's Liberation Front. Until then, the army will reportedly continue its march toward Tigray's capital city, Mekelle, which it says it will reach soon.
The fighting broke out earlier this month and has increasingly intensified. Hundreds of people are estimated to have died in the conflict, and more than 30,000 refugees have fled to Sudan since the violence began, with perhaps 200,000 more possibly crossing the border before too long, per Reuters. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee representative in Ethiopia, Ann Econtre, said she was "deeply concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in Tigray, which is compounded by the lack of access and our current inability to bring in food and supplies to those in need." Read more at Reuters and Al Jazeera.