Rival sides provide conflicting accounts over developments in Afar area as 10-month battle in northern Ethiopia drags on.
Ethiopia’s federal authorities has mentioned rival forces from the war-hit Tigray area had been beaten in neighbouring Afar area and had withdrawn, however the Tigrayan forces mentioned they’d merely redeployed troops to next-door Amhara area for an offensive there.
“The TPLF force has left Afar,” overseas ministry spokesperson Dina Mufti informed reporters at a information convention in the capital, Addis Ababa, referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which dominated Ethiopia for 3 a long time however was the northern area’s ruling occasion when preventing broke out in November 2020.
“According to a military information, they were defeated and they left,” he mentioned.
Tigrayan spokesperson Getachew Reda, talking to Reuters information company by satellite tv for pc telephone from an undisclosed location, mentioned the Ethiopian authorities had solely now realised Tigrayan forces had withdrawn.
“We were not defeated. There was no fighting in Afar so we made troop movements from there to the highlands in adjoining Amhara region,” he mentioned.
It was not instantly attainable to confirm both declare.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s spokeswoman informed a information convention in Addis Ababa that the Tigrayan forces had been “routed” in the Afar area by the navy and the area’s militia forces, which she mentioned had intently collaborated and inflicted heavy losses on the Tigrayan forces.
“The Afar militia has been working in close collaboration with the national defence forces and the TPLF have sustained a lot of losses over the past weeks,” Billene Seyoum mentioned.
Getachew disputed the declare in a collection of Twitter posts.
“#Abiy & Co are trying to have their supporters believe that they are making advances in battlefields in #Amhara and #Afar: they are not,” he mentioned, including that “thousands are being mopped down by our forces” each day.
“The fighting in Amhara region is proceeding in a manner that will make sure #Abiy cannot lie his way out,” he mentioned.
Northern Ethiopia has been racked by violence since final November when Abiy, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, despatched troops into Tigray, saying the transfer was in response to assaults on military camps by the TPLF.
The TPLF, which dominated nationwide politics till Abiy got here to energy in 2018, mentioned federal forces and its allies launched a “coordinated attack” in opposition to it.
The 10-month battle has killed hundreds of individuals and compelled greater than two million to flee their properties. There have been myriad reviews of massacres and atrocities, together with rape and extrajudicial killings, and a whole bunch of hundreds of individuals struggling famine.
In July, after the TPLF recaptured the regional capital of Mekelle and seized again most of Tigray, its forces superior into Afar and Amhara areas, marking an growth of the battle into beforehand untouched areas.
Since then, the federal government estimates that about 450,000 individuals have fled preventing in these two areas.
Abiy rejected early appeals from high-level AU envoys for talks with Tigrayan leaders, sticking to his line that the battle is a restricted “law and order” operation.
On Thursday, Billene mentioned Ethiopia was contemplating presents by neighbouring international locations to assist facilitate an answer to the battle.
“These efforts are seen positively by the Ethiopian government and as an extension of goodwill, and they are being reviewed.”