The leader of the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) which is fighting government troops in northern Ethiopia has accused the federal forces of bombarding the insurgents’ stronghold of Mekelle.Debretsion Gebremichael told local media in a text message on Saturday that the city was under “heavy bombardment”.
A spokeswoman for Ethiopia’s Prime Minister’s office Billene Seyoum said federal forces are not bombarding civilian areas.
“The safety of Ethiopians in Makelle and Tigray region continues as priority for the federal government” he said.
What is said to be the final operation to enforce law in northern Ethiopia by taking control of Mekelle was launched on Thursday after a seventy-two hour ultimatum issued by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed given to TPLF leaders and their loyal forces to surrender came to an end.
On Friday, the Ethiopian Defense Force announced that the army controlled several key military positions north and south of Mekelle after destroying fortified trenches.
Head of training in the Ethiopian Defense Force, Let. General Hassen Ibrahim on Friday said that places like Hawuzen, Al-Nejsashi, Adi Keyah, Maymesano and Wukro (all near Mekelle city) are under absolute control of federal troops.
Hassen said that captured places do have significance from the point of view of the ongoing military operation to hunt down ‘TPLF criminals’ who are believed to be leading their forces from Mekelle, the Tigrayan capital.
“The people of Tigray demonstrated support and solidarity with the Ethiopian Defense Force from day one,” said Lieutenant General Hassan Ibrahim.