ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

Ethiopia on Friday arrested the most senior living member of the outlawed Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Six other key TPLF operatives were also arrested in an operation conducted by Ethiopian forces on a hideout in the rugged Kola Tembein area in the northnern Tigray region, an official from the East African nation’s military was quoted as saying.

The public Ethiopian News Agency quoted Brig. Gen. Tesfaye Ayalew as saying that Sebhat Nega, a founding member of the TPLF, had surrendered during the operation.

Sebhat is considered a magnate within the TPLF and is known for having built a multibillion-dollar business empire in Ethiopia over the 27 years the group was in power.

On Thursday, the army said nine other key TPLF officials had been captured, while four others were neutralized in the ongoing law enforcement operation.

An unspecified number of soldiers were killed last year and a sizable amount of military hardware had been looted by TPLF forces, prompting the government to launch a massive law enforcement operation.

On Nov. 28, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared the operation complete, saying what remained was apprehending the TPLF leadership and their militants, reconstruction and rehabilitation in the restive region, and putting in place the structures of an interim administration for Tigray.​​​​​​​

Copyright 2021 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.