The war-torn region of nearly six million people has been subject to what the UN said is a de-facto blockade with the government and rebels both accused of human rights violations.

Nearly 40 percent of the people in war-ravaged Tigray region face
Nearly 40 percent of the people in war-ravaged Tigray region face "an extreme lack of food", the UN said in January. (AFP)

Ethiopia's government has declared "an indefinite humanitarian truce effective immediately", saying it hoped to help hasten delivery of emergency aid into the Tigray region, where hundreds of thousands face starvation.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government "is committed to exert maximum effort to facilitate the free flow of emergency humanitarian aid into the Tigray region," it said in a statement on Thursday.

"To optimise the success of the humanitarian truce, the government calls upon the insurgents in Tigray to desist from all acts of further aggression and withdraw from areas they have occupied in neighbouring regions," it said.

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Ethiopia hopes move will ease crisis

"The government of Ethiopia hopes that this truce will substantially improve the humanitarian situation on the ground and pave the way for the resolution of the conflict in the northern Ethiopia without further bloodshed."

Since war broke out in northern Ethiopia in November 2020, thousands have died, and many more have been forced to flee their homes as the conflict has expanded from Tigray to the neighbouring regions of Amhara and Afar.

Fighting has dragged on for over a year, triggering a humanitarian crisis, as accounts have emerged of mass rapes and massacres, with both sides accused of human rights violations.

Tigray itself has been subject to what the UN says is a de-facto blockade.

The United States has accused Abiy's government of preventing aid from reaching those in need, while the Ethiopian authorities in turn have blamed the rebels for the obstruction.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies