MEKELLE, Ethiopia — Thousands of Ethiopian prisoners of war were paraded through the regional capital of Tigray on Friday as jubilant crowds lined the streets to jeer the captives and cheer the Tigrayan forces who only days earlier had routed one of Africa’s most powerful armies.
Many of the soldiers bowed their heads and cast their eyes downward. Some had to be carried on stretchers, and others wore bandages freshly stained with blood.
The swift defeat of the Ethiopian forces was a stunning reversal in a civil war that has led to the displacement of nearly two million people in the Tigray region, widespread hunger and reports that civilians were subjected to atrocities and sexual violence.
The parade of prisoners served as a pointed rebuke to Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, who had proclaimed in a speech on Tuesday in the national capital, Addis Ababa, that reports of his troops’ defeat were “a lie.” He had declared…