On November 19th, the local government of Ethiopia’s Amhara region accused the forces of the Tigray region of launching missiles into the city of Bahir Dar.
“The illegal TPLF group launched a rocket attack around 01:40am [22:40 GMT on Thursday] in Bahir Dar,” Amhara regional government’s communications office said on its Facebook page, referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls the local government in the region.
“The rockets have caused no damage,” the post added.
On November 19th, Ethiopia’s government force said that they are nearing on the Tigray capital.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government said its troops have won a string of victories and will soon reach state capital Mekelle, a highland town of about 500,000 people, where the regional ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has strong support.
“Our defence forces are moving forward and closing in on Mekelle,” government spokesman Redwan Hussein told reporters.
“There are a number of towns that have fallen.”
The TPLF leader told Reuters that while it had lost ground in the south and federal soldiers had taken the town of Shire to the west, it still held the town of Axum, about 215 km (134 miles) northwest of Mekelle. This meant that even if the capital were to fall, fighting would continue.
The TPLF’s information bureau said its forces had eliminated two army divisions and a mechanised force around the town of Alamata, without offering evidence.
In text messages, the leader of Ethiopia’s Tigray rebel forces Debretsion Gebremichael told Reuters that Mekelle was bombed on November 19th, but no evidence was provided.
The central government denies bombing any civilian targets.
The northern-based TPLF effectively governed Ethiopia for decades as the strongest force in a multi-ethnic coalition, until Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took power two years ago.
Abiy Ahmed won a Nobel Peace Prize precisely for his efforts in the country, and has now begun a war.
Abiy’s government says the TPLF has turned renegade and is holding power in Tigray illegally.
Tensions escalated after the government accused TPLF of attacking federal troops.
The TPLF says the war is part of an unconstitutional assault on regional rights. Both sides accuse the other of atrocities and blocking humanitarian aid.
So far, the conflict in northern Ethiopia has killed hundreds over the past two weeks and has sent 33,000 refugees into Sudan.
Ethiopia’s military, under the central government, accused the most prominent Tigrayan abroad, the World Health Organization (WHO) head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, of trying to procure arms and diplomatic backing for the TPLF.
Ethiopian army chief Birhanu Jula called Tedros, who served as a minister in a TPLF-led Ethiopian coalition government for more than a decade before taking the helm of the global health body, “a criminal”.
In a message on Twitter, Tedros denied the accusation and called on all parties in Ethiopia to work for peace, civilians’ safety and access for health and humanitarian aid to those in need.
“There have been reports suggesting I am taking sides in this situation. This is not true and I want to say that I am on only one side and that is the side of peace.” Tedros said.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Ethiopian Military Advances On Capital Of Rebel Tigray Province (Map Update)
- Tigray Rebels Refuse To Surrender Despite Advances By Federal Government Forces (Map Update)