July 26, 2021

In Ethiopia, rebel forces in Tigray launch new offensive

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A member of an Amhara militia allied with federal forces, in Dansha, Tigray province, July 10, 2021.

Rebel forces in central Ethiopia have launched a new offensive in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, a rebel spokesman told AFP on Tuesday (July 13th), two weeks after a first offensive that prompted the government to declare a cease-fire.

“Yesterday we launched an offensive in the Raya region [sud du Tigré] and we succeeded in routing the divisions of the Federal Defense Forces and the Amhara forces ”, Getachew Reda told AFP by phone.

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The latter also clarified that the rebel fighters were still on Tuesday. “On the trail” pro-government forces. “We have succeeded in securing the majority of southern Tigray”, he added, specifying in particular to control Alamata, the main city in this area and where he claimed to be.

As a spokesperson for the federal army could not be contacted immediately, it was impossible to verify Mr. Getachew’s claims. Communication networks are in fact practically cut off in the region.

Eight months of fighting

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched on November 4, 2020 a military operation in this northern region of the country to disarm and capture the dissident local authorities, from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

At the end of November, after the capture of the regional capital Makalé, the government proclaimed victory. But the fighting continued for eight months. At the end of June, the army withdrew in the face of a lightning advance by pro-TPLF troops, who retook Makalé on the 28th, as well as a majority of Tigray the following days. In the process, Addis Ababa declared a ceasefire and withdrew the army.

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Monday’s offensive concerns the southern and western areas of Tigray, which were still controlled by Amhara forces, who came to support the federal army in this conflict marked by atrocities and the growing specter of famine.

“We promised to free every square inch of Tigray”, added Getachew Reda. He also said fighting was ongoing in the western part of the region, without specifying where in the area on the borders of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan.

The World with AFP