Tigrayan forces close into Amhara territory as Ethiopia conflict escalates

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Ethiopian government says its troops won a string of victories and will soon reach Tigrayan capital, Mekelle [Photo: Reuters]

NAIROBI, Kenya - The Tigray Defense Forces [TDF] has continued to close into the Amhara and Afar territories, in yet a move that could further ignite the conflict in Ethiopia, which has been embroiled in troubles for the last couple of months.

Since November 2020, the conflict has escalated to the next levels after Ethiopia National Defense Forces [ENDF], Eritrea troops and the Amhara regional forces raided the Tigray region, in pursuit of the TDF, which has been ruling the state for several years.

According to Amhara American publication, TDF has pushed into Amhara territories by 80km, displacing over 5,000 people from the region. The conflict has inflamed Afar Somali territorial disputes, killings of civilians reported.

The TDF had pledged to make further entries to Amhara and Afar, with the main target being cutting rail and road links leading to Djibouti. The main intention is to suffocate Addis Ababa by blocking importation and exportation.

And to block further entry of TDF, Amhara authorities are now mobilizing youths to join the regional army for the sake of fighting aggression. Addis Ababa mayor Adanech Abiebie urged the city's youth to join the army.

Further, Ethiopia has deployed special police from regions across the country and recruitment drives for new fighters have been launched in an attempt at halting the TDF's push. No sign of potential mediation talks as fighting persists across multiple fronts.

Sunday’s statement from Amhara regional president Agegnehu Teshager echoes a call made Friday by the president of Ethiopia’s Afar region just east of Tigray.

Together the two statements highlight the potential for the Tigray war, which Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared all but over in late November, to draw in the rest of the country.

“Starting from Monday, I call on all people of age who are armed either at a governmental or private level to mobilize for a survival campaign,” Agegnehu said.

“We have called on the general public to stand on our side. Now, the public is on our side in every aspect,” he added.

Meanwhile, Addis Standard is reporting that there may be possible cases of forced recruitment of fighters by the Oromia regional government. The regional government denies this and insists fighters being sent to northern Ethiopia are all volunteers.

A community leader in Bale-Robe town who asked to remain anonymous told Addis Standard, “They are rounding up youth from nearby towns and gathering them in the city. City youth are not spared either.”

When asked about the numbers he said, “The numbers are huge, why they are doing it and why at this time I don’t know.” The community leader explained that the mechanisms in which the recruitment process is being carried can only amount to conscription and argued that underage teens might fall victim to the process.

GAROWE ONLINE

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