The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia said it has resumed financial services in some towns in the war-torn region of Tigray, enabling residents to access their funds after a shutdown lasting more than a year.
The announcement follows the signing of a peace deal between the federal government and Tigrayan rebels last month, aimed at ending the brutal two-year conflict and humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia.
The country’s largest bank said in a statement said Following the peace agreement reached recently, the (CBE) branches in Shire, Alamata and Korem cities have started receiving money sent from abroad and locally as well as depositing money.
It added that the bank was forced to suspend its banking services because of the instability in the northern part of the country.
Access to northern Ethiopia is severely restricted and Tigray has been under a communications blackout for more than a year, making it impossible for journalists to independently verify the situation on the ground.
Since the November 2 peace agreement inked in South Africa, fighting between federal troops and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front has ceased, with the TPLF saying that 65 percent of its forces have “disengaged” from battle lines.
Earlier this month, the country’s electricity operator announced that the capital of Tigray had been reconnected to the national power grid after more than a year of cuts caused by the conflict.
The war left Tigray devastated and lacking access to basic services including banking, electricity, fuel and communications for more than a year.
The death toll resulting from the war is unclear, but the International Crisis Group think-tank and Amnesty International have described it as one of the bloodiest in the world.
According to the UN World Food Programme, more than 13 million people in northern Ethiopia now depend on humanitarian aid, including more than 90 percent of Tigray’s population of six million.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops to Ethiopia’s northernmost region in November 2020, accusing the TPLF, then the regional ruling party, of attacking federal army camps.
The TPLF dominated politics in the Horn of Africa nation for nearly three decades before Nobel Peace Prize laureate Abiy took office in 2018. Aljaazera