Northern Ethiopia was once again the scene of fighting between federal forces and Tigrean rebels. this Wednesday, breaking with the truce agreed by both parties five months ago.
The rebel authorities in Tigray initially accused the Ethiopian federal army of launching a “full-scale offensive” against their positions. Later, the Ethiopian government accused them of having “broken” the truce.
Ethiopian federal forces “launched an offensive this [miércoles] in the morning, early, around 05:00 [02H00 GMT]we defend our positions”, he declared to the agency AFP a spokesman for the rebel authorities in Tigray, Getachew Reda, questioned from Nairobi.
On Twitter, Reda mentioned “a large-scale offensive” against the “southern front positions” of the Tigrean rebels.
“Disregarding the many peace offers made by the Ethiopian government,” Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces “They launched an attack today at 05:00” (02:00 GMT) in an area south of Tigray and “broke the truce”responded for its part the government in a statement.
“Our brave defense forces and all of our security forces respond victoriously and in a coordinated manner to this attack”, added the federal Executive, urging the international community to exert “strong pressure” on the rebel authorities in Tigray.
Later, the Ethiopian army announced that it had shot down a plane carrying weapons for the TPLF that had flown over Sudan, without specifying either the origin of the downed device or the date on which the incident occurred.
“The plane that violated our airspace from Sudan (…) and intended to carry weapons to the terrorist group was shot down by our heroic Air Force,” said General Tesfaye Ayalew, quoted by official media.
Tigray and the areas bordering the neighboring Amhara and Afar regions are largely isolated from the rest of the country, so it was not possible to verify the claims made by both parties independently, nor to verify the situation on the land.
Is about the first recorded major fighting since both sides agreed to a truce at the end of March.
Both the government and the rebels reported fighting around the southeastern tip of Tigray, bordering Amhara to the west and Afar to the east.
“The offensive on that front […] seeks to occupy the south of Tigre”, accused the Tigray rebels in a statement.
The Amhara Fano militia – which supports the federal forces – stated that the fighting is taking place in the areas of Mehagoy of Khedimin the Amhara region, but that at the moment there are no clashes in the Tigre region. However, this information could not be independently verified.
And the APDA, an NGO active in Afar, claimed that fighting was reported in an area bordering Afar with southeastern Tigray.
“Federal forces are present [en la zona] from Yallo and repel” the Tigray rebels “out of Afar,” the NGO said.
In recent days, the federal government and the rebels had accused each other of planning to resume the fighting, despite the fact that both parties had declared themselves in favor of negotiating.
The conflict in Tigray erupted in November 2020, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent the army there to oust the regional government.l, who had challenged his authority for several months and who, according to the central executive, had attacked military bases in the region.
The Ethiopian federal army obtained the support of regional forces, Amhara militias and an expeditionary force from neighboring Eritrea, troops that are still present in western Tigray.
For its part, The United States on Wednesday urged the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan rebels to hold talks to end the renewed fighting.saying that a five-month truce had saved “countless lives”.
“We are concerned about reports of renewed hostilities in Ethiopia and call on the Ethiopian government and the TPLF to redouble efforts to advance talks for a lasting ceasefire without preconditions,” the Department of Defense spokesman said. State, Vedant Patel, referring to the Tigray People’s rebels. Liberation Front.
The High Representative for Foreign Policy of the EU, Josep Borrell, has called on the Government of Ethiopia and the rebels to lower the tension before the current escalation of confrontations “lead again into a full-scale war.”
Borrell has stated on Twitter that the news coming from the African country sows doubts about the possibility of a dialogue between the parties. “Now is the time for peace talks”underlined the head of European diplomacy.
The head of the African Union Commission also expressed “deep concern” on Wednesday for the resumption of fighting in northern Ethiopia and called for a “de-escalation”.
Moussa Faki Mahamat “strongly calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities and urges the parties to resume talks to seek a peaceful solution,” the AU said in a statement.
(With information from AFP)
Brutal massacre in Ethiopia: a wave of attacks attributed to rebels left at least 250 dead