Ethiopia PM claims main advance in Tigray area | Ethiopia
The Ethiopian Prime Minister has claimed that the West Tigray region has been “liberated” after a week of fighting, while United Nations agencies warn of a day-to-day deteriorating humanitarian situation.
“The western region of Tigray has been liberated,” said Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Twitter on Thursday.
“The army is now providing humanitarian aid and services. It also feeds the people, ”he said.
Since communication was interrupted and the media blocked, an independent review of the conflict status was not possible.
Fears of a worsening conflict have increased since the federal government decided last week to launch a military campaign after accusing the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which governs the mountainous northern state, of attacking parts of federal military stations.
“The fighting between ground troops on both sides is still going on. Air strikes target fuel and weapons depots, which have caused considerable losses on both sides,” reported Mohammed Adow of Al Jazeera from the capital Addis Ababa.
“The government said it will not stop the operation until it has achieved its goals of ensuring that the TPLF is disarmed, its leadership is brought to justice, and all refugees are arrested,” Adow said.
Volunteers gather to donate blood for the injured members of the National Defense Force in Ethiopia [Tiksa Negeri/Reuters]Abiy said some of his soldiers were found dead in Sheraro town and shot with legs and arms behind the back.
“That kind of cruelty is heartbreaking,” he said. He did not say how many bodies were found or provide any evidence.
His claim could not be verified and there was no immediate response from the TPLF.
On Thursday, the TPLF announced a local state of emergency against a so-called “outsider invasion” and accused the federal troops of being “merciless” in bombing Tigrayans.
Tigray’s President Debretsion Gebremichael, chairman of the TPLF, told Reuters that government air strikes in the past few days had killed an unspecified number of civilians and promised to defend his people until federal authorities realized “we are not from can be subjected to their knife ”.
“The way I see it from the Prime Minister, I don’t think there will be peace anytime soon because he believes he can destroy us, he believes he can do anything with his armed forces,” said Debretsion.
Debretsion said he could not provide any details about the air strikes. Reuters has been unable to independently verify its claims about civilian casualties or determine which side initiated the attacks.
Meanwhile, phone lines to the region were still down, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its report on the crisis on Thursday, and thwarted relief operations incapable of food, health and replenish other emergency supplies.
“Transportation to and from Tigray is not allowed, which is why there has been reports of a basic shortage that affects the most vulnerable first and worst,” the UN agency said.
The Addis Ababa military move came after months of feuds between the federal government and the TPLF, a party that ruled Ethiopian politics for nearly three decades until Abiy came to power in 2018.
According to William Davison, senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, operations could be expanded further.
“The existing strong regional security apparatus in Tigray, coupled with the history of resistance and fighting in the region, raises concerns that, despite the benefits of the federal government, we may in fact see a protracted conflict that could well last weeks and possibly months,” Davison told Al Jazeera.
“It could be devastating for Tigray, ”he said.
About 11,000 people have fled from Ethiopia to Sudan since the fighting began, and an estimated 50 percent of them are children, a representative from the UN refugee agency said Thursday.
“They come with very, very few possessions and although most of them arrived in healthy condition, we received information about some of the injured,” said Axel Bisschop, representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, told reporters in a virtual briefing.
Aid agencies say the situation in Tigray has gotten worse. Even before the conflict, 600,000 people were dependent on food aid.
In a broader push against the TPLF, the Ethiopian parliament on Thursday stripped 39 members, including Tigray President Debretsion, of immunity from prosecution. If you
The newly formed government emergency task force for Tigray said around 150 “criminal” TPLF activists had been arrested in the capital Addis Ababa and elsewhere on suspicion of planning “terrorist attacks”.
There are fears of reprisals against Tigrayans living in Ethiopia.
According to local media, thousands marched in Oromia, Somali and Afar regions to protest against TPLF in what appeared to be a government-backed attempt to win the propaganda war over Tigray.