University students safely evacuate Tigray region

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More than 1,000 students arrived in Addis Ababa on Saturday after being evacuated from the fast-moving conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region.

A convoy of 18 buses transported the students from the embattled region where Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters recently regained control from government forces.

At the end of the two-day trip, eager relatives were waiting for them at the capital's Lamberet Bus Terminal.

A candle-lit vigil was also held there for Bereket Dessie, a second-year student from Mekele University, who was killed by government soldiers.

The Tigray region is home to four of Ethiopia's 45 universities and has 82,000 students from all regional states enrolled.

Worried parents had demanded the federal government ensure the safe return of their children.

Despite a communications blackout imposed on Tigray by the military since they declared a unilateral ceasefire in June, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) had been helping students to communicate with their families.

Over 10,000 students have been able to leave via the Afar and Amhara regions.

The nine-month war in Africa’s second-most populous country, with 110 million people, widened this week after the government summoned all capable citizens to war, urging them to join the country's military to stop resurgent rebel forces.

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