A new front is opening in the resurgent Tigray War in Ethiopia

A new front is opening in the resurgent Tigray War in Ethiopia

Register

  • The breach of the armistice cuts off aid supplies
  • The conflict has been raging since late 2020
  • Fighting breaks out near the border with Sudan
  • New strikes in Tigray’s capital Mekelle

NAIROBI (Portal) – Fighting in Ethiopia’s nearly two-year Tigray War has broken out along a new front near Sudan, the government said on Wednesday after a ceasefire collapsed a week ago.

Medical officials also reported fresh air strikes on Mekelle, the capital of the northern Tigray region, where local forces have been fighting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s national army in a clash that has killed thousands, destroyed infrastructure and exacerbated hunger.

A government statement said the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls the region, has launched “an invasion” towards areas it believes are in the Amhara region and as Wag, Wolqait and the Sudanese border be designated.

Register

The fertile area is claimed by both the Amhara and Tigray regions. The Tigrayans call it Western Tigray.

Getachew Reda, a spokesman for the TPLF, tweeted that the government was “creating stories so that it gets off scot-free in the eyes of the international community.”

The party said last week it expected a major attack from that direction and that skirmishes in the south were a ruse.

A medical worker and a rescuer reported three explosions in the city of Mekelle late Tuesday.

One hit a neighborhood near Mekelle General Hospital, Kibrom Gebreselassie, chief executive of Ayder General Hospital, tweeted. He said Ayder suffered some casualties.

The extent of the damage and casualties was unclear, although an aid worker said at least two people were injured.

Ethiopian government spokesman Legesse Tulu, military spokesman Colonel Getnet Adane and Prime Minister’s spokesman Billene Seyoum did not respond to requests for comment.

Getachew, the TPLF spokesman, said on Twitter that at least three bombs had been dropped and that Mekelle General Hospital was among the targets.

Portal was unable to reach other Mekelle residents for confirmation because the region has had no phone communications since Ethiopian troops left more than a year ago.

The latest strike follows a hit at a children’s playground on Friday that killed seven people, including women and children. Continue reading

HUMANITARIAN CONVOYS STOPPED

Almost all of Tigray’s 5.5 million people are in need of food aid, but no humanitarian supplies have arrived for nine days, two United Nations officials said.

On Tuesday, Getachew said an offensive against the TPLF had been broken and a counterattack launched. He underscored the devastation in the region, which has had no banking, telephone or electricity services for more than a year.

Fuel restrictions have also limited the distribution of supplies while patients are dying from lack of medicines and equipment.

Restoration of services is a key TPLF demand ahead of peace talks. The government said it wanted talks to start unconditionally. But after a week of fighting, hopes for a peace deal have faded.

On Saturday, the Ethiopian government communications service said it had withdrawn its forces from the town of Kobo in the Amhara region bordering Tigray, accusing the TPLF of sending “human waves” at the town and endangering civilians.

The government said Tigrayan forces would attack in two directions – along the Amhara border to the south and along the Afar border to the east.

The eruption to the west would mean fighting in all directions except to the north along the border with Eritrea.

Eritrea previously intervened in the conflict to support the Ethiopian military, sending large numbers of troops to Tigray, where human rights investigators said they were responsible for looting, mass killings of civilians and gang rapes – allegations Eritrea has consistently denied.

In Getachew’s speech to regional media in Tigray, he said that Ethiopian soldiers had recently been sent to Eritrea.

Ethiopian government and military spokesmen, as well as Eritrean Minister of Information Yemane Gebremeskel, did not respond to requests for comment.

Register

Nairobi newsroom reporting; Edited by Andrew Cawthorne

Our standards: The Thomson Portal Trust Principles.