Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Thursday that a military offensive had “liberated” the western part of the Tigray region where federal troops have been fighting local forces for a week.
(The African Stand) — Addis Ababa said that its army took control of several regions in Tigray (northern Ethiopia) after days of fighting, while the Tigray People’s Liberation Front pledged to defend the region, amid fears that the country would slide into civil war and the displacement of millions of people.
Yesterday, Sunday, the Ethiopian army announced that its forces had taken control of more areas in the west of the Tigray region, which is administered by the authority formed by the Tigrayan Liberation Front, which had dominated for 30 years until the current Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018 over power in Ethiopia, before entering into a dispute With the central government in Addis Ababa.
The Director-General of the Ethiopian Defense Forces, Major General Mohamed Tesma, said that the federal forces, which have launched a military operation since last Wednesday in the Tigray Liberation Front-controlled region, have taken control of Medali, Dansha, Bakir, Humra airport, and Humira Sudan road, indicating that the military confrontations Continuing intensively in the western region, which borders both Eritrea and Sudan.
For his part, the new commander of the Ethiopian army, General Burhan Gula, confirmed that the federal forces completely destroyed the heavy weapons of what he described as a group of traitors, in reference to the front.
Yesterday, the Ethiopian Air Force carried out more military strikes targeting sites believed to contain missiles and heavy weapons for the Tigray Liberation Front in the provincial capital, Makli, and other areas, while the front confirmed the shooting down of one of the attacking aircraft.
While Addis Ababa talked about the control of its forces over several regions, the President of Tigray Region and the leader of the Liberation Front, Debarsion Gebramikail, said that the government had lost control of the region that is currently isolated from the world due to cutting off communications and the media blackout on operations.
For his part, a UN official said that Tigrayan forces control the Ethiopian army headquarters in Mekele, the capital of Tigray.
Abiy Ahmed had ordered an attack on the front after he accused it of attacking the headquarters of the Federal Forces in Tigray.
In the face of international pressure, the Ethiopian Prime Minister called yesterday on the international community to understand the context of the military operations carried out by his government in the Tigray region.
In a televised speech, he indicated that the constitution requires the government to maintain the rule of law, stressing that operations will continue to achieve this, taking into account the safety of citizens in the region.
Ahmed accused the Tigrayan Liberation Front of trying to undermine his government and spread unrest in the country of 110 million people, which is experiencing ethnic tensions.
The Prime Minister spoke about a limited operation aimed at disarming the front, and he had previously imposed a state of emergency in the region for a period of 6 months, while the Ethiopian Parliament approved on Saturday a plan to dismiss the Council and the local government in the Tigray region.
With the escalation of military operations in the Tigray region, Abiy Ahmed dismissed the army and intelligence chiefs and the foreign minister without giving reasons.
For his part, the President of the Tigray region, Debarcyon Gebramikail, warned that the operations launched by the Ethiopian army would lead to a large-scale civil war.
In a message sent to the Presidency of the African Union, Gebramikail said that the African Union can be a mediator to solve the crisis.
In statements to Reuters, the President of the Tigray Region said that the region will continue to defend itself until the federal authorities agree to negotiate.
While the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, during a phone conversation with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, offered to take good offices to stop the fighting in Tigray, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned that 9 million people are at risk of displacement due to the war in Tigray.
The United Nations office said in a report published on Saturday that about 600,000 people in the region depend on food aid, while one million others are receiving other forms of support, all of which have stopped.