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Tigrayan women celebrate at the Ashenda festival, Addis Ababa, August 2023
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Video. Watch: Tigrayan women celebrate the Ashenda festival in Addis Ababa

In the heart of Ethiopia's capital, a group of women danced while brandishing a flag bearing the insignia of the war-scarred Tigray region -- a scene that would have been unimaginable a year earlier.

In the heart of Ethiopia's capital, a group of women danced while brandishing a flag bearing the insignia of the war-scarred Tigray region -- a scene that would have been unimaginable a year earlier.

The two-year conflict that pitted Ethiopia's federal government against the Tigray People's Liberation Front sparked accounts of widespread rights abuses, including rapes by both sides and arbitrary mass detentions of ethnic Tigrayans in Addis Ababa and elsewhere.

While the northern region endured a massive humanitarian crisis due to a lack of food, fuel, cash and medicines, Tigrayans living in other parts of Ethiopia were forced to keep a low profile to avoid becoming the targets of ethnic profiling.

But the signing of a peace deal last November raised cautious hopes among the community, whose female members gathered to mark the traditional festival of Ashenda in Addis Ababa for the first time since 2020.

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