Around 600,000 people are estimated to have been killed during an armed conflict between the Ethiopian government forces and the rebels in the restive Tigray region, the African Union's lead mediator in the peace talks said on Sunday.

Iran PressAfrica: "The number of people killed was about 600,000," the former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo told the Financial Times.

Ethiopian officials said on November 2, 2022, when the peace agreement was signed, that it stopped "1,000 deaths every day," Obasanjo recalled.

Tim Vanden Bempt, a member of a research group investigating war crimes committed during the Tigray conflict, said that this estimate might be "roughly correct."

"Based on reports from the field, the number of dead could be somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 civilian casualties only — this from atrocities, starvation, and lack of healthcare," he said, adding that as many as 200,000-300,000 people died on the battlefield, according to unofficial figures.

However, some Ethiopian officials put the total number of casualties, both civilian and battlefield, at 80,000-100,000, the newspaper noted.

Ethiopia has been struggling with a violent internal conflict since November 2020, when the central government accused the rebel Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) of attacking its military base and launched an anti-terrorist operation in the region. In June 2021, the rebels seized the city of Mek'ele, the administrative regional center, and the government declared an unconditional ceasefire. However, the rebels launched a new offensive soon after and took control of the southern part of Tigray and the neighboring Amhara region.

A new truce was reached in March 2022, when the Ethiopian authorities announced the introduction of an indefinite humanitarian truce for the delivery of humanitarian aid to Tigray. After a five-month pause, hostilities resumed in August.

In early November 2022, the Ethiopian government and the Tigray rebels signed a new ceasefire agreement, which provided for the disarmament of TPLF forces within a few weeks. The restoration of the Internet connection and telecommunications in the region, the resumption of banks’ operations, and humanitarian aid supplies were discussed during the talks among other issues.