The Ethiopian military forces have launched a massive ground offensive against rebel groups in the Tigray region. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, an ethnic nationalist paramilitary group, confirmed the offensive, adding that there are now active skirmishes on several fronts.
The TPLF said fighting had erupted on Monday after the government sent troops to the region as part of a “staggering” ground offensive. The group said there are now deadly skirmishes on at least three fronts in the Amhara region between government troops and Amhara regional militias.
TPLF representatives said the skirmishes involved the use of drones, tanks, and airstrikes. The latest attack has reignited the devastating civil war, which had resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives on both sides and affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Three Ethiopian opposition parties claimed that at least 52,000 people died in the nation’s northern Tigray region since a conflict began there in November.
A further 3 million have been forced to flee their homes and even more are dependent on food aid, The Tigray Independence Party, National Congress of Great Tigray and Salsay Weyane Tigray were among those who mentioned these figures.
The Ethiopian federal troops began an incursion into Tigray on Nov. 4 and toppled the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which had set itself in opposition to Abiy since he came to power in April 2018. Though the government announced an end to hostilities on Nov. 28, the region’s ousted leader, Debretsion Gebremichael, has vowed to continue fighting.
Sadly, neither federal authorities nor the TPLF have given a death toll since the fighting started.
William Davison, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group said the figure given for those in need of aid is higher than Tigray’s estimated population, so it’s likely that the number of civilian fatalities is also significantly inflated by the three parties
The nearly year-long civil war in the region has caused a significant humanitarian crisis with the international community calling on an end to the violence. Earlier in the year, the Ethiopian government expelled U.N. officials from the region despite clear signs of famine that has put millions of lives at risk.
The office of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed did not respond directly to questions about the latest offensive but it only stated that the government’s responsibility was to protect its people from all acts of terrorism.
He added that the government of Ethiopia will continue to counter the TPLF’s destruction, violence, and killings in the Amhara region and elsewhere.
Ethiopian officials said the offensive is part of its plan to push the TPLF out of the Amhara region and to protect all citizens in the area. The TPLF had entered the Amhara region just this summer.
The civil war in Tigray began in November last year when Abiy ordered the country’s military to take back the region from the TPLF. The group, which is also the leading political party in the region, had ruled over Ethiopia for three decades before the current government came into power.
TPLF officials described the latest offensive as part of Abiy’s final push to reinvade Tigray. The TPLF has slammed Abiy’s actions of pursuing a more violent means of taking power.
Despite repeated appeals by the international community as well as the Government of Tigray to find a peaceful resolution of the current crisis, the Government of Ethiopia has once again chosen to continue its genocidal war on Tigray.
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