UPDATE 1-Tigray forces say they 'completely destroy' Ethiopia's 21st mechanized division

(Updates with context)

ADDIS ABABA/NAIROBI, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Forces battling Ethiopia's federal government in the northern Tigray region "completely destroyed" the army's 21st mechanized division, a spokesman for the Tigray forces, Getachew Reda, said on Tuesday.

A government spokesman did not return calls seeking comment. Reuters has been unable to verify statements made by either side since phone and internet connections to the Tigray region are down and access to the area is strictly controlled.

Since the conflict erupted on Nov. 4, hundreds of people have been killed and about 40,000 have fled into neighboring Sudan.

On Monday, the United States called for mediation between the Ethiopian federal government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

"The United States calls for mediation in #Ethiopia and supports the efforts led by @CyrilRamaphosa and the @_AfricanUnion to end this tragic conflict now," the U.S government's National Security Council said in a post on Twitter late on Monday.

(Writing by Omar Mohammed, Editing by Kim Coghill, Robert Birsel)

11/24/2020 6:52

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