Ethiopia tightens visa rules amid reports of fighting in Tigray

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Ethiopia has tightened its visa regulations for people entering the country, less than a day before the country is due to hold elections and amid reports of renewed fighting in the Tigray region.

Under the new rules, electronic visas and visas issued on arrival are temporarily suspended, the Interior Ministry said over the weekend.

On Saturday, the authorities also said government forces had killed dozens of rebels of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), including one leader, in the central Oromia region.

The information could not be independently confirmed.

The OLA, which says it fights for the rights of the Oromo ethnic group, has been accused of deadly attacks on the government and other ethnic groups.

Ethiopia is conducting parliamentary elections next week but the vote is overshadowed by a conflict in the northern region of Tigray, in which the government in Addis Ababa has been accused of using violence, including sexual violence, against the local population.

In November, Abiy’s forces began a military offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which had, until then, been in power in the region.

The conflict, which is based on years-long tensions between the central government and the TPLF, has become increasingly complex and also drawn in neighbouring Eritrea.

Hundreds of thousands of people have had to flee the violence and destruction. The UN has warned that hundreds of thousands in Tigray are threatened by hunger.

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