Ethiopia rebuffs mediation attempts as Tigray offensive continues

Remigio Civitarese
Novembre 22, 2020

However, Ethiopia said when it comes to negotiations with TPLF, the federal government's stand has never changed.

The Ethiopian forces said they had seized another town as they advance towards the capital of the northern Tigray region.

The army of Abiy and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki "inflicted heavy casualties on innocent civilians in Adigrat", the TPLF's communications bureau said in a statement on Facebook.

The official also said that the TPLF was "trying to escape accountability for the genocidal crime it committed both on the Ethiopian National Defence Force and civilians in May Cadera".

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed - last year's Nobel Peace Prize victor - unleashed a military campaign against the TPLF on November 4, accusing its forces of attacking two federal military camps in the region and the party of defying his government and seeking to destabilise it.

Last week, the rebel group has fired rockets into neighboring Eritrea, claiming that its soldiers were deployed and fighting against Tigray forces along the border.

"Our defence forces are now marching on Mekele", the Ethiopia State of Emergency Fact Check, a government agency, said.

Assertions on all sides are hard to verify because phone and internet connections have been down since the beginning of the conflict and media are largely barred.

This comes as the African Union on Friday night named former Presidents Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa as special envoys to help restore normalcy in the country.

"The overall safety and well-being of the people of Tigray is of paramount importance to the Federal government and we will do all that is necessary to ensure stability prevails in the Tigray region and that our citizens are free from harm and want", he said.

The mounting disputes between the federal government and the TPLF were exacerbated in September this year, when the Tigray regional government made a decision to go ahead with its planned regional elections, which the Ethiopian parliament had previously postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The rebels say Abiy's government has marginalised and persecuted Tigrayans since taking office two years ago.

An overview of destroyed buildings near Dansha airport in Dansha, Ethiopia, is seen in this satellite image taken November 18, 2020 and supplied by Maxar Technologies.

Satellite images from US -based space company Maxar Technologies showed destroyed buildings lining the main road near Dansha airport, where the government says there was a November 4 surprise attack on federal troops. Tigrayan authorities say 100,000 people have been displaced, and the United Nations has warned that an additional 1.1 million people may need aid.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says Federal Army has regain control of Adigrat town from TPLF (PHOTO/Courtesy).

The UN estimates that up to 200,000 could arrive in the coming months.

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