Ethiopian forces and their allies are launching air and ground strikes against Tigrayan militants in the northern Amhara region, humanitarian sources told AFP.
The shelling hit many areas of Amhara on Thursday and Friday. According to humanitarian sources, amid growing speculation about a major offensive by government forces against the rebels.
TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda said there had been a “major offensive” against the militants. The front has been locked in a bloody conflict with pro-government forces in northern Ethiopia for nearly 11 months.
It comes days after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was sworn in on Monday for a new term, pledging to uphold “Ethiopia’s honor” despite growing international criticism of the conflict and concerns about the humanitarian crisis that he provoked.
Getachew confirmed the occurrence of “bombardments, mainly aerial, drone and artillery” targeting rebels of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray, in addition to significant military reinforcements. He added that “tens of thousands of people have been mobilized” in northern Amhara, particularly the regions of North Gondar and North Wolu.
He said: “We are convinced that we will face the attack on all fronts and more”, stressing: “We will not back down until the siege is lifted”.
Neither Amhara officials nor federal and military officials responded to inquiries about alleged military operations, according to “AFP”.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
start of conflict
War erupted in November when Abiy Ahmed sent troops to Tigray to overthrow the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF), the region’s former leader, in response to LTTE attacks on army camps. federal, according to the Prime Minister.
Although government forces quickly took control of towns and villages in Tigray, the LTTE regained control of most of the territory, including the capital, Mekelle, at the end of June.
The fighting has since spread to neighboring areas of Amhara and Afar, causing what the United Nations has called a “massive humanitarian crisis”, with hundreds of thousands facing conditions bordering on famine.
An unknown number of civilians were killed, and nearly all were displaced Two million, while numerous reports of atrocities have been received Including massacres and mass rapes.
There was speculation about the possibility of an exacerbation of the fighting as the end of the rainy season approached, and with massive mobilization across the country, especially in Amhara.
“Since the launch of an operation to liberate our people who are in distress because of the terrorists of the Tigray Liberation Front can happen at any time, and on all fronts, we must be on our guard 24 hours a day” Amhara’s spokesperson wrote on Twitter.
Awet Waldmichael, a security expert in the Horn of Africa at Queen’s University in Canada, said earlier this week that Abiy’s new government will face what he called a “crisis triangle” : the war itself and its humanitarian and economic ramifications.
“The next wave of battles and the deteriorating humanitarian conditions will further damage his international reputation and test his new government from day one,” he told AFP.
Abiy’s government sparked international outrage last week when it expelled seven top UN officials it accused of “interfering” in Ethiopia’s internal affairs, heightening concerns over repercussions aid workers in Tigray.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has said more than 5 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, on Wednesday urged Ethiopian authorities to allow the global body to provide “unhindered” aid.
Tigray is in a de facto “state of siege” which prevents the entry of the majority of aid.
Ethiopian officials accuse the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray of blocking aid, but the US State Department said last month that access to basic materials and services was being hampered by the Ethiopian government.
The United Nations Agency for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recently warned that a shortage of medical supplies was having deadly consequences in Tigray and reported alarming levels of malnutrition among children and pregnant women.