Ethiopia: Bloody war continues between federal, TPLF forces

Forces of the Amhara Regional State re-captured various towns in northern Ethiopia after they have regrouped and launched a counteroffensive…

Forces of the Amhara Regional State re-captured various towns in northern Ethiopia after they have regrouped and launched a counteroffensive against the rebel forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).On Tuesday, TPLF forces had swept through several Raya towns in Amhara region including Korem, Alamata, Chercher, and Waja, after the Ethiopian military was ordered to leave the towns.

It was not clear why the Amhara Special, militia and federal government forces were ordered as to withdraw from those towns.

Social media sources with links in the towns of Korem and Alamata reported that TPLF forces have killed dozens of civilians in what appeared to be a revenge killing. They were killed for working with government forces. 

On Wednesday, the Amhara forces regrouped and launched a counteroffensive. Within a few hours, they were able to stop the advancing TPLF forces and captured the town of Kobo and have forced them back to Alamata.

Overnight, Amhara forces entered Alamata town, and Thursday morning they were preparing to expel the last remaining TPLF forces from contested Raya by taking back the town of Korem.

TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda had claimed victory over forces of the federal government, rejecting a unilateral ceasefire Addis Ababa introduced two week ago.

Resurgence of TPLF military activity and recapture of towns that were under Ethiopian Defense Forces created confusion, loss of confidence in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration. 

Considerable number of Ethiopians considered the silence and withdrawal of its forces by the Federal government as a betrayal to the Amhara region aiming at reinforcing its power by leaving ethnic Amharas  and Tigriyans to endless conflict.

On Wednesday, Abiy broke his silence – apparently after days of meeting with the national Security Council body. In a statement he shared on social media, he said” We will put up resistance to the attack that our internal and external enemies opened, and reverse it.” 

He was not unambiguous if the ceasefire was rescinded after the TPLF intensified the offensive in different parts of Ethiopia. “We have demonstrated our thoughts to the people in the Tigray region of Ethiopia and our respect to the International community,” he said. 

Even though we know that we will pay a measured sacrifice, he continued, “We have declared a unilateral ceasefire in order not to aggravate conflict, to give farmers a chance at planting season and to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid.” 

That was a last chance for peace, he added. 

“The Junta [a reference to TPLF leaders] has once again proved that it is the primary enemy to Ethiopia’s existence, and we will mobilize our people and reverse it,”  he said. 

Furthermore, he expressed his government’s commitment to continue facilitation of humanitarian aid delivery in the region.

Abiy also spoke about child soldiers that TPLF is using. But his critics were pointed at the international community.  It has been talking about famine and humanitarian assistance in the region.

Ethiopian Defense Forces (ENDF) under the command of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed reportedly played no role in the ongoing battle to free the towns from TPLF forces.

Shocked and angered by Abiy Ahmed’s decision and that of the Amhara region president of Agegnehu Teshager, Amhara Special Forces and militia regrouped and launched a bloody battle.

Barely two days after entering Korem and Alamata with celebration and a sense of “triumph,” TPLF forces reportedly retreated back to Mekele, capital of the Tigray region and other towns.

Currently, the fighting between TPLF forces and the Amhara regional forces is taking place internal border areas.

Members of the special force from Oromia region with strength of 10,000 troops were mobilized to the battle while other regions under the federal government’s command announced decision to contribute troops in an attempt to end the eight-month long war once and for all.

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