Ethiopia: Tigray forces allege ‘large-scale’ offensive

0 10

NAIROBI, Kenya –

Ethiopia’s military has launched a “large-scale” offensive for the first time in a year in the country’s northern Tigray region, Tigray authorities alleged Wednesday, while the government countered that Tigray forces attacked first.

The renewed conflict in Tigray is a significant setback to mediation efforts and humanitarian work to reach millions of people starved of food and other needs.

The claims followed months of regrouping by one of Africa’s largest militaries. Ethiopia’s military this week warned the public against any reporting of troop movements.

The Tigray conflict began in November 2020, killing thousands of people in Africa’s second most populous country, and it calmed in recent months amid slow-moving mediation efforts. But last week, the spokeswoman for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed asserted to journalists that Tigray authorities were “refusing to accept peace talks.”

An Aug. 23 letter signed by Tigray leader Debretsion Gebremichael and shared with The Associated Press says Tigray leaders had “conducted two rounds of confidential face-to-face talks with senior military and civilian officials,” the first confirmation of direct talks. But the letter says “unacceptable conditions have been inserted into the peace process,” and it urges the international community to step in quickly.

The Tigray military command’s statement Wednesday said Ethiopian forces, along with Amhara special forces and Amhara militias, “have started a large-scale attack around 5:00 a.m. in the direction of Alamata, southern Tigray.” Tigray forces spokesman Getachew Reda tweeted that the offensive followed a “week-long provocation” by forces in the neighbouring Amhara region.

Ethiopian military spokesman Getnet Adane did not respond to questions. The government’s communication service in a statement asserted that the Tigray forces launched attacks Wednesday morning. It said if attacks continue, “the government will take measures to save the country … and also bring (Tigray forces) to the negotiating table whether it likes it or not.”

Tigray forces last week warned of an impending offensive. In a Facebook post Tuesday, Ethiopia’s army rejected allegations of a military buildup or attacks and claimed the Tigray forces were “engaged in pre-conflict noise.” The post also warned against spreading “secrets of the army.”

Ethiopia’s government has said it’s ready for talks but insists the African Union must lead mediation efforts. Tigray authorities have criticized the continental body’s efforts and urgently sought the resumption of telephone, banking and other basic services that have been largely cut off since the war began.

Earlier this month, World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an ethnic Tigrayan, described the crisis in Tigray as “the worst disaster on Earth” and wondered aloud if the reason global leaders have not responded was due to “the colour of the skin of the people in Tigray.”

Humanitarian aid began flowing to Tigray earlier this year, but a report by the World Food Program last week said that with little fuel allowed into the region to deliver supplies, “this is yet to translate into increased humanitarian assistance.” The UN agency said “rates of malnutrition have skyrocketed,” with 29% of children malnourished and 2.4 million people severely food insecure.

The AU envoy, former Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo, and his spokesman didn’t respond to questions Wednesday and have said little about mediation efforts since they began.

The new fighting comes as the president of neighbouring Kenya, who has tried to mediate with U.S. support, prepares to leave office.

The renewed attacks are a “deafening warning to the key international and regional actors that they must immediately ensure peace talks actually occur,” said analyst William Davison with the International Crisis Group. “They should accordingly instruct the belligerents to issue all of their demands when at the negotiating table, rather than making them preconditions for talks.”


Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Trusted Bulletin is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.