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Leader of Ethiopia's rebel Tigray forces says Axum town 'with us'

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - The leader of rebel forces in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region said on Thursday that the town of Axum remained in their hands though another locality, Shire, had fallen to federal troops seeking to close in on the state capital Mekelle.

“Shire has fallen three days back but Axum is with us, but there is an army sent to control Axum, but there is a fight,” Debretsion Gebremichael, who heads the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), said in a text to Reuters.

The head of the government task force for Tigray did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Reporting by Addis Ababa newsroom; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Alex Richardson

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