Ethiopia says former foreign minister killed by military after refusing to surrender

Government says three Tigray People's Liberation Front officials were killed and five party members captured

FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia's former foreign minister, Seyoum Mesfin, addresses the final mediation report on South Sudan in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, April 2, 2016. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

Ethiopia on Wednesday said its military killed three members of the Tigray region's former ruling party, including former Ethiopian foreign minister Seyoum Mesfin.

Five members of the Tigray People's Liberation Front were captured and the three killed after they refused to surrender to the military, the government's task force for Tigray said on Twitter.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government declared victory in its conflict with the Front on November 28 last year after nearly a month of fighting.

Fugitive leaders of the Front pledged to continue the fight from mountains of Tigray in northern Ethiopia, but Reuters was unable to contact them for weeks.

The military said last week it had captured Sebhat Nega, a founding member of the Front.

At the weekend, it said it killed 15 members and captured eight, state-run TV reported.

Seyoum was Ethiopia's foreign minister from 1991 to 2010.

Air strikes and battles since early November in Tigray are believed to have killed thousands of people.

Fighting is continuing in some parts and more than 2 million people need aid, the UN said this week.

Phone and internet connections to the Tigray region are down and access to the area is strictly controlled.

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