The top of native forces in Ethiopia’s northern area of Tigray says they’re nonetheless preventing close to the regional capital, Mekelle, which was seized by authorities troops on the weekend.
Debretsion Gebremichael, who leads the Tigray Folks’s Liberation Entrance (TPLF), additionally says his fighters have retaken one other key metropolis.
The federal government denies the claims and insists the TPLF has been crushed.
A whole lot of individuals have reportedly been killed within the month-long battle.
Hundreds have been displaced, whereas the UN and help companies have voiced concern in regards to the humanitarian state of affairs.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed informed parliament on Monday that not a single civilian had been killed for the reason that authorities launched its offensive in early November.
With all telephone strains and the web minimize off, it’s not possible to independently confirm statements from both facet.
In one other improvement, the TPLF mentioned it had launched greater than 4,000 federal troopers who had been held captive since Tigrayan troops attacked a federal army base earlier in November.
That assault led to the beginning of the federal military’s operation within the area.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has phoned Mr Abiy to induce an finish to “the preventing and constructive dialogue to resolve the disaster”.
What does the TPLF say?
In a textual content message to Reuters information company on Sunday, the TPLF chief mentioned his forces had shot down a federal warplane and captured the pilot.
In one other message on Monday, Mr Debretsion mentioned the TPLF was “near Mekelle, preventing”.
He additionally mentioned the TPLF had retaken the town of Aksum from the federal military.
On Monday, Fisseha Asgedom, a former Ethiopian ambassador to the UN with affiliations to the TPLF, informed the BBC that experiences by the Addis Ababa authorities of a sweeping advance have been “a joke”.
“The Addis Ababa authorities introduced that they’ve captured Mekelle and 6 hours after they introduced this they bombarded Mekelle… It is propaganda. Why cannot they ship the worldwide group some movies?”
What does the Ethiopian authorities say?
Mr Abiy introduced that Mekelle had fallen to the federal military on Saturday, describing the transfer because the “final section” in his authorities’s offensive.
In a BBC interview on Monday, Minister of Democratisation Zadig Abraha, denied the TPLF’s claims that that they had captured Aksum and shot down a aircraft.
He additionally mentioned the TPLF have been “not engaged in a guerrilla struggle” however have been “operating for his or her lives”.
“Their rank and file have disbanded. Everyone seems to be surrendering,” he added.
Redwan Hussein, a senior federal official in Tigray, mentioned authorities troopers had been cautious to not contain civilians of their advance.
Troops “simply left the cities encircled after which moved on to the subsequent. That is how we see no casualty out of our operation till we additionally reached Mekelle,” he mentioned.
How unhealthy is the humanitarian state of affairs?
On Sunday the Worldwide Committee of the Purple Cross (ICRC) mentioned provides in Mekelle’s most important hospital – together with physique luggage – have been operating “dangerously low” as docs handled individuals concerned within the preventing across the metropolis.
Nevertheless it gave no figures for the numbers of injured or lifeless. Neither did it say whether or not the victims have been civilians or troopers.
Ethiopian officers have promised to permit humanitarian teams to function in Tigray, however the UN has mentioned it’s “extraordinarily involved in regards to the security and welfare of civilians in Tigray”, and referred to as for higher entry.
Ethiopia has deployed troops alongside Tigray’s border with Sudan, stopping individuals fleeing the violence from leaving the nation, in response to refugees.
Who’re the TPLF?
The TPLF fighters, drawn principally from a paramilitary unit and a well-drilled native militia, are thought to quantity about 250,000.
The organisation was based within the Nineteen Seventies and spearheaded the rebellion in opposition to Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, who was toppled in 1991.
It then went on to be the dominant political drive within the nation till Mr Abiy grew to become prime minister in 2018.
Mr Debretsion has mentioned the Tigray forces are “able to die in defence of our proper to manage our area”.
What’s the preventing about?
The battle is rooted in longstanding pressure between Ethiopia’s authorities and the TPLF, which dominated all the nation till Mr Abiy got here to energy in 2018.
When Mr Abiy postponed a nationwide election due to coronavirus in June, relations additional deteriorated.
The TPLF mentioned the federal government’s mandate to rule had expired, arguing that Mr Abiy had not been examined in a nationwide election.
In September the occasion held its personal election, which the federal government mentioned was “unlawful”.