Rebels build on capital acquisition


Rebel fighters in the Tigray region of Ethiopia continue to establish themselves after regaining the region’s capital, Mek’ele, from government forces.

Rebels are now in the town of Shire, about 140 km (90 miles) northwest, according to UN officials.

The Eritrean army supporting the Ethiopian army had previously abandoned the city.

The government declared a ceasefire in an eight-month conflict, but rebels vowed to expel their “enemy” from Tigray.

Thousands were killed in the battle between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and government forces.

More than 2 million people have been evacuated and 350,000 have been driven into famine.

The fighting began in November, when rebels refused political reforms and occupied military bases. Government troops captured Mek’ele later in the month.

There was a scene of delight on the streets of the capital on Tuesday, the day after the rebels regained the city following a rapid attack. The central government calls this area a “humanitarian ceasefire.”

Ethiopian tanks burnt in Tigray in March 2021

The battle between government troops and Tigrinya rebels has intensified in recent weeks

Rebel spokesman Getachu Reda told Reuters that Tigrayan fighters would “destroy their enemies” by invading the Ethiopian region of Eritrea and Amharic.

“We need to make sure that the enemy … no longer has the ability to threaten the safety of our people,” he said.

A resident of Shire told Reuters that the Eritrean army appears to be moving north towards the border, but the situation for the Eritrean army remains unclear.

Rebels now dominate most of the region, said the research organization’s International Crisis Group.

When will it change?

Vivienne Nunis, BBC News, Nairobi

When rebels regained control of Mek’ele and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed unilaterally declared a ceasefire, there seemed to be few options left.

But by assembling this decision as “humane,” Addis Ababa’s government is trying to save the face.

Then what should I do? Rebels have so far ignored the ceasefire and say they intend to ward off all so-called “invading enemies.”

The international community is wondering if the ceasefire is a turning point, especially if humanitarian organizations can move freely around the region and deliver supplies to millions of people in desperate need of food. I’m watching over you.

Tigray-Basic

  • Ethiopia is divided into 10 regional states, which are defined on ethnic grounds and are mostly described as autonomous, but have a central authority.

  • In 2018, following anti-government protests, Abiy Ahmed became prime minister and introduced reforms

  • A powerful politician in Tigray, the northernmost state of Ethiopia, has accused Mr Abby of trying to increase federal power.

  • Relations deteriorated and Ethiopian troops moved in November after the government accused Tigrayan rebels of attacking a military base.

  • Mr Abby declared the conflict to end in late November, but fighting continued and increased prior to the June 21 national elections.

All sides of the conflict have been accused of mass slaughter and human rights abuses.

On Tuesday, US State Department official Robert Godeck said Washington would not wait in the face of the “horrible atrocities” being committed in Tigray.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the ceasefire could be positive if it led to measures to “end the conflict, stop atrocities and allow unhindered humanitarian assistance.” ..

The United Nations said there was a famine situation in northern Ethiopia-a claim denied by the Ethiopian government.

Map of Tigray showing the worst affected areas

Map of Tigray showing the worst affected areas

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