Ethiopian, Tigray Forces Claim Advances in Renewed Fighting
October 15, 2021
Ethiopia’s army and fighters in the northern Tigray region claimed they’ve made advances in a week of renewed fighting, as the government seeks to end an almost yearlong war that’s left more than 5 million people in need of aid.
An offensive that began against Tigray People’s Liberation Front last weekend came days after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed began a new five-year term in which he’ll have to tackle the fallout from a conflict that’s triggered an economic and humanitarian crisis, and prompted the U.S. to threaten sanctions.
Federal forces are “reversing” an offensive launched by TPLF, the Ethiopian Defense Forces said in a statement on Facebook last night. The TPLF also claimed its forces have made gains.
Tigrayan forces captured “many more” prisoners or war and destroyed several divisions belonging to the Ethiopian National Defence Forces, said Getachew Reda, a senior member of the TPLF.
“We have totally destroyed the whole of Eastern command, including more divisions that came as reinforcements,” he said in by text message.
Conflict erupted in Tigray last November, when Abiy ordered an incursion in retaliation for an attack on a federal army base. The violence has left about 5.2 million people in need of assistance, according to the United Nations. Fuel shortages and medical supplies have been prevented from entering Tigray, according to aid agencies.
The latest military incursion, with the support of forces from Ethiopia’s Amhara region, is taking place on “all fronts,” the TPLF said in a statement earlier this week, accusing federal forces of using heavy artillery, tanks, rockets, drones and fighter jets. The group said it will continue fighting until a peaceful path is chosen.
U.S. President Joe Biden in a meeting with his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta on Oct. 14 reiterated the need for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ethiopia. In September, the U.S. government said it didn’t see a military solution to the conflict after Biden signed an executive order authorizing sanctions against those prolonging conflict in northern Ethiopia, adding pressure on parties to end the civil war.