What began as a political dispute in Africa’s second-most populous country has now killed thousands of people.

Ethiopian military airstrikes have hit the capital of the country’s Tigray region and killed at least three people, witnesses said Monday, returning the war abruptly to Mekele after several months of peace, AP reports.

The airstrikes, confirmed by two humanitarian workers, came days after a new military offensive was launched against the Tigray forces who have been fighting Ethiopian and allied forces for nearly a year.

Mekele hasn’t seen fighting since late June, when the Tigray forces retook much of the region and Ethiopian troops withdrew. Since then, Ethiopia’s federal government has called all able citizens to crush the Tigray fighters who dominated the national government for 27 years before being sidelined by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. What began as a political dispute in Africa’s second-most populous country has now killed thousands of people.

Spokespeople for the military and the prime minister didn’t immediately respond to questions.

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