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Dhaka Tribune

TPLF: Ethiopian, Eritrean forces attack in northwest Tigray

The government issued a statement on Wednesday accusing the Tigrayan forces of launching multiple attacks on government forces


Update : 01 Sep 2022, 01:19 PM

Ethiopian and Eritrean government forces launched an attack in Ethiopia's northern region of Tigray on Thursday targeting Tigrayan forces, a spokesperson for the Tigrayan forces said, although Reuters was not able to independently verify the report.

Getachew Reda, the Tigrayan forces spokesperson, said on Twitter that the two "forces have launched massive four-pronged offensive early this morning in the #Adyabo area of Northwestern Tigray!"

Ethiopian government spokesperson Legesse Tulu, military spokesperson Colonel Getnet Adane and the prime minister's spokesperson Billene Seyoum did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The government issued a statement on Wednesday accusing the Tigrayan forces of launching multiple attacks on government forces.

Both sides blame each other for breaking a ceasefire.

The conflict in Ethiopia has roiled the region and destabilized Africa's second-most populous country, a diplomatic heavyweight that hosts the African Union and provides peacekeepers to several of its fragile neighbours.

Reuters was not able to independently confirm Getachew's report or ascertain who started the fighting because Tigray has not had telephone links since government troops pulled out more than a year ago.

A humanitarian worker in the Tigrayan town of Shire told Reuters that drivers coming from the area reported cross-border shelling on Wednesday, and he had spoken to a witness who said heavy artillery shelling in the town of Shiraro near the Eritrean border had started at around 4:30 a.m. on Thursday.

A militia leader in the Amhara city of Gondar with contacts on the front lines of the fighting confirmed there had been "heavy shelling from our side" aimed at Tigrayan trenches around the town of Shiraro, in the same area.

The Ethiopian military had clashed with the Tigrayan forces on Wednesday, he said, and wounded fighters from the government side were being treated in Humera. The hospital had been given orders to clear out civilian patients, he said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the Ethiopian government and the TPLF late on Wednesday to "immediately halt military operations" and work on ending the conflict.

Eritrea sent troops into Tigray to support the Ethiopian military immediately after fighting broke out in November 2020, although both countries publicly denied their presence for about five months as accusations mounted of gang-rapes, mass killings of civilians and systemic looting.

The Eritreans denied the accusations.

In mid-2021, Eritrean and Ethiopian troops withdrew from most of Tigray after increasingly bloody battles where Tigrayan forces took ground. In January, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki told state media his troops would intervene again should Tigrayan forces attack his country or threaten Ethiopia's stability.

The government declared a ceasefire in March this year, but in May, Eritrean forces fired at least 23 shells at Shiraro, killing a 14-year-old girl and wounding 18 people, according to a UN bulletin. Eritrea did not respond to requests for comment at the time. 


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