African envoys visited Ethiopia Wednesday to plead for peace, hours before an ultimatum was to expire for Tigrayan forces to surrender or face an assault on the northern region’s capital.
Rights groups fear the onslaught could bring huge civilian casualties.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government set a 72-hour ultimatum on Sunday for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to lay down its arms or face an assault on Mekelle.
Human Rights Watch said both sides must avoid putting civilians in danger.
It said the government’s warning did not absolve it “of its duty to take constant care to protect civilians when carrying out military operations in urban areas”.
Adolphus Mawolo reports.