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Ex-UN Peacekeepers Battle for Control of Key Ethiopian Town

  • Elite unit close to hotly contested western Tigray area
  • Fresh attacks have shattered five-month truce in civil war
Ethiopian former peacekeepers, deployed to the Abyei region, disembark off a United Nations' Embraer E190 aircraft as they arrive in Sudans Kassala airport on May 15, 2022, after seeking asylum.

Ethiopian former peacekeepers, deployed to the Abyei region, disembark off a United Nations' Embraer E190 aircraft as they arrive in Sudans Kassala airport on May 15, 2022, after seeking asylum.

Photographer: Hussein Ery/AFP/Getty Images

Hundreds of ethnic Tigrayans from Ethiopia who served in a United Nations peacekeeping force have joined a battle for a strategic town in the northwest of the country, according to people familiar with the matter, the latest twist in an internal conflict that erupted in late 2020.

The fighting has pitted Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s forces against soldiers loyal to the Tigray region’s ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front. While a truce was agreed five months ago, each side has accused the other of carrying out fresh attacks, raising fears of a return to all-out war.