Ethiopia sends army into Tigray region, heavy fighting reported

Ethiopia’s Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) and PM Abiy Ahmed

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Heavy fighting flared in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region on Wednesday, diplomatic sources said, after the prime minister launched military operations in response to what he said was an attack on federal troops.

Tensions have been escalating since September, when Tigray held regional elections in defiance of the federal government, which called the vote “illegal”. In recent days, both sides accused each other of plotting a military conflict.

Early on Wednesday, the local ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), tried to steal artillery and other equipment from federal forces stationed there, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said.

“The last red line has been crossed with this morning’s attacks and the federal government is therefore forced into a military confrontation,” it said, adding that the aim was to prevent instability engulfing the country and region.

Tigray’s population makes up 5% of Ethiopia’s more than 110 million people, but the area is wealthier and more influential than many other, larger regions and has a well-trained army.

Abiy’s spokesman, Billene Seyoum, told Reuters later that military operations in Tigray had commenced, without elaborating. Two diplomatic sources in Addis Ababa said heavy fighting, including artillery fire, had broken out in the northern region, which borders Eritrea.

The prime minister’s office said the federal government had declared a six-month state of emergency in Tigray to be overseen by the chief of staff of the armed forces.

DEFECTION REPORT DENIED

Tigray’s local government said the Northern Command of the federal military, which is stationed in the region, had defected to its side, a statement that Billene described as “false information”.

The TPLF, in a statement issued later on Wednesday, said: “We always win because arrogance, invasion, and traitorous acts in our country are not our nature. We know war in action; it will cost lives and destroy properties,”

Redwan Hussein, spokesman for a newly-established State of Emergency Task Force, said the government viewed the TPLF as the real enemy, not the Tigray region.

“This conflict is with a very small group, with narrow vested interests, which is hell-bent on destabilising the national order,” Redwan told a news briefing.

He told Reuters the TPLF assault took place at the Northern Ethiopia Command’s base near Mekele, and in Dansha, near Humera. Asked if negotiations were an option, he replied, “Not yet.” There was no immediate comment from the TPLF.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for immediate measures to de-escalate tensions and ensure a peaceful resolution to the dispute, his spokesman said in a statement, as did the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia.

The internet was shut down in the region, internet access monitor NetBlocks said, after earlier reports that authorities had blocked telephone and internet services.

Ethiopia has suffered multiple outbreaks of violence since Abiy took office. At the weekend, gunmen killed 32 people and torched more than 20 houses in western Ethiopia.

2 comments

  1. There are conflicting reports coming from both sides. Somebody, I say somebody, is telling lies to us. Chairman Mao, I’m sorry, Chairman Debre has claimed that his forces have overrun the northern front base and captured all the armaments including heavy artillery, missiles and helicopter gunships. He might have forgotten to mention the squad of MiG fighter jets parked at the base in that region. On the other hand the PM has told the citizens of that country and the world that the attempts to capture the large base by Debre’s forces were successfully repulsed and his forces have turned the tide chasing after the fleeing forces of Debre. Who you believe? Somebody is lying to/thru his teeth. It seems this senseless war is becoming music to ears for the BBC. Niggers killing each other, you know! Those damn, damn niggers going at each other main aorta! Watch now! The boys at BBC, AP, Reuters, WP and company rushing to the war front. They have been salivating for this for a long time especially to watch damn niggers slaughtering each other like savages from the dark ages. There was a movie called Chi-Raq, right? Now it is time for Eth-Raq. It will shatter box office records. Spike Lee, let’s go!!!!

    Now these bigots roaming among us are betting with the last red cent they have in their pockets that Chairman Debre will repeat the victory he and his gangs scored over the door knob Mengistu in 1991. To me TPLF never scored that victory alone. They were just a band of frontier Bonnie and Clyde’s running for their lives the whole time until they stroke it lucky to find beast of burdens from Amhara such as the Tamrat Layne’s and from my own Oromo by the Dula’s in all later on joined by the Dawud Ibsa’s entourage. Then thousands both Amhara and Oromo joined them and that was the only means they could steamroll through the Amhara and Oromia regions. Without being able to ride on the backs of these mules they would have been holed up in their own forsaken escarpments counting the stars, But such mules are very hard to come by for them this time around except some bigots right here among us. These ‘bisas and utemas’ don’t have the balls like the Dula’s, Dawud’s and Layne’s to even pull the trigger at proven ranges. Debre and his gangs don’t have relief aid workers to pick on or even murder. He does not have good Samaritans to swindle such as the Bob Geldof’s or biblical famine to cheat on. Also will the youth of Tigray trade his cellphones for AK47’s just to lose his blessed life for something stupid?

  2. There are conflicting reports coming from both sides. Somebody, I say somebody, is telling lies to us. Chairman Mao, I’m sorry, Chairman Debre has claimed that his forces have overrun the northern front base and captured all the armaments including heavy artilleries, missiles and helicopter gunships. He might have forgotten to mention the squad of MiG fighter jets parked at the base in that region. On the other hand the PM has told the citizens of that country and the world that the attempts to capture the large base by Debre’s forces were successfully repulsed and his forces have turned the tide chasing after the fleeing forces of Debre. Who you believe? Somebody is lying to/thru his teeth. It seems this senseless war is becoming music to ears for the BBC. Niggers killing each other, you know! Those damn, damn niggers going at each other main aorta! Watch now! The boys at BBP, AP, Reuters, WP and company rushing to the war front. They have been for this for a long time especially to watch damn niggers slaughtering each other like savages from the dark ages. There was a move called Chi-Raq, right? Now it is time for Eth-Raq. It will shatter box office records. Spike Lee, let’s go!!!!

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