African envoys traveled to Ethiopia to plead for peace on Wednesday, hours before an ultimatum was to expire for Tigrayan forces to surrender or face an assault on the northern region’s capital that rights groups fear could bring huge civilian casualties. This, Reuters reports, after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government set a 72-hour ultimatum on Sunday for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front to lay down its arms or face an assault on Mekelle, the highland regional capital city of 500,000 people. Human Rights Watch said both sides must avoid putting civilians in danger and that the government’s warning did not absolve it “of its duty to take constant care to protect civilians when carrying out military operations in urban areas”.