Ethiopia, Eritrea forces launch new offensive in Tigray: TPLF
Troops from the two countries have attacked fighters in the northern Adayabo area, a Tigrayan rebel spokesman says.
Ethiopian and Eritrean government forces have launched an attack in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray, targeting rebel forces.
Getachew Reda, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) spokesperson, said on Thursday that both nations’ forces had attacked rebels in Adayabo in the north of the region.
A humanitarian worker in Shire said drivers coming from the area reported cross-border shelling on Wednesday.
The conflict resumed last week after a five-month lull, with clashes on the ground and air raids over Tigray dashing hopes of peacefully resolving the nearly two-year war.
Fighting had been concentrated around the southeastern border of Tigray, with the rebels pushing into the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions, sending residents fleeing.
But Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government on Wednesday accused the TPLF of launching “an invasion in the direction of Wag, Wolqait and our border areas with Sudan [Amhara region]”, west of the site of the most recent clashes.
“Our heroic national defence forces are defending this invasion with full preparedness and resolve,” the government communications service said in a statement.
Getachew in turn alleged the government and its neighbour Eritrea – which backed federal forces during the war’s early phase – were responsible for opening a new front.
“The Abiy regime, along with the Asmara regime, did launch [an] offensive in these fronts. We are defending our positions,” he said.
Wolqait, also spelt Wolkait, lies in western Tigray, a disputed region claimed by Tigrayans and Amharas and currently occupied by Amhara forces.
The TPLF has repeatedly said the area is a “non-negotiable” part of Tigray.
Access to northern Ethiopia is severely restricted and it is not possible to independently verify the situation on the ground or the claims by the warring sides.
Reports of a new offensive came as Tigray’s capital, Mekelle, was hit by the second air raid since Friday.
The bombing occurred “close to midnight” on Tuesday near Mekelle’s general hospital, said Kibrom Gebreselassie, chief clinical director at the city’s Ayder Referral Hospital.
“Casualties are arriving to Ayder Hospital,” he said on Twitter, without giving details.
“Night time drone attack in Mekelle. No conceivable military targets!” Getachew said on Twitter. “Mekelle Hospital among the targets and at least three bombs dropped.”
The TPLF later said the attack caused civilian injuries and property damage. Government officials did not comment on the bombing.