The authorities of the Tigray region in Ethiopia, who are calling for secession, confirmed the deaths of civilians, during an attack by the Ethiopian army on the town of Adigrat.
Reuters quoted the Tigray People's Liberation Front as saying that 9 people were killed during the attack by federal government forces on villages in the region, noting that heavy losses occurred.
On the other hand, Ethiopia`s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stressed that the "safety and well-being" of the Tigray people are of utmost importance to his government. There are fierce battles between Abiy`s government forces and what he considers to be rebels of the Tigray People's Liberation Front.
"The public safety and well-being of the people of Tigray are of the utmost importance to the government ... and we will do whatever is necessary to ensure stability in the Tigray region and that our citizens are safe from harm and need," Ahmed said in a tweet.
On its part, the Ethiopian government confirmed in a statement Saturday, that the army forces are advancing towards Mekele, the capital of the Tigray region.
This came after the federal government in Addis Ababa announced that the Ethiopian army takes control of the city of Adigrait, 116 kilometers from Mekele.
The army announced, on Friday, that it had taken control of the cities of Aksum and Adwa, tens of kilometers from the capital of Tigray region.