Ethiopias government army has started a new offensive in the Tigray region, rebels in the area report. According to the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), it is a large-scale multi-fronted offensive, including artillery, fighter jets and drones. The Ethiopian government has not confirmed the offensive.
A spokesman for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy tells AP news agency alone that “the Ethiopian government will continue to counterbalance the destruction, violence and murders in the Amhara region and elsewhere”. Tigray also has little information about the situation in the region, as the area is almost completely cut off from the outside world.
The new offensive would mean that the conflict in Ethiopia is escalating again almost a year after its inception. Last November war broke out in Tigray, between the Ethiopian government and the rebels. In the following months, the conflict also expanded to other places in the country. The Ethiopian government announced a ceasefire in June, but it remained unsettled in the country.
The rebel group TPLF now explains the government troops renewed attack as “Abiys last offensive to invade Tigray”. “Despite repeated calls from the international community and Tigray government to reach a peaceful solution to the current crisis, the Ethiopian government has once again elected to continue its genocidal war in Tigray.”
Thousands of people have been killed since the beginning of the battle, and some two million people have been fleeing. Both government forces and Tigrean rebels are accused of war crimes and both sides send mixed signals about the willingness to accept a peaceful solution.
The United Nations has long been warning of an impending “unprecedented famine”. Last July, some 400,000 people were already hungry in the country according to the UN, partly because aid is being stopped. The Abiy government denies that and rejected seven UN officials earlier this month because they would interfere with internal affairs.