Tigray leadership speaks of “heavy bombardment” in the city of Mekelle | The timeline of the clashes – VIDEO

Defence Redefined
Published on 29/11/2020 at 10:22

The leader of the Ethiopian Tigray province, Debretsion Gebremichael, announced on November 28, 2020, that the Ethiopian federal armed forces had launched an offensive to seize Mekelle, the capital of the northern Tigray region.

In a text message, he said there had been “heavy bombardment” of Mekelle, a town of 500,000 people, before the conflict began.

Billene Seyoum, a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister’s office, said that Ethiopian forces would not “bombard” civilian areas, adding “the safety of Ethiopians in Mekelle and Tigray region continues to be a priority for the federal government.”

Also read: Ethiopia | 72-hour ultimatum for Tigray forces to surrender – MAP

The government-affiliated Fana BC radio and television network also reported that the federal army “captured key points to take control of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) junta forces and is heading towards Mekelle, which is already under siege.”

The Ethiopian Federal Army, according to Fana BC, controls many communities on the outskirts of the city. Among them is Angola, which is less than 40 kilometers from Mekelle. The army also announced that it would “bring Mekelle under its control in a few days”, without specifying whether the fighting has already begun.

A diplomatic source confirmed to AFP that the army was in Angola late Friday night. Claims from all sides are difficult to verify since phone and internet links to the region have been down and access tightly controlled since fighting began three weeks ago between forces of the government and the TPLF.

In his message, Debretsion also accused the army of neighboring Eritrea of ​​raiding refugee camps in Tigray to arrest refugees who had fled Eritrea.

Reuters was unable to obtain a comment from the Eritrean government, which is said to have reached a historic peace deal with Ethiopia in 2019, ending the post-conflict dispute between the two countries at the 1998-2000 border war. The peace agreement in question (which was not recognized by Tigray) even awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in 2019. 

Also read: Ethiopia | Hundreds dead after clashes between Federal forces and the People’s Liberation Front – VIDEO

Tigray also accuses Eritrea of ​​allowing the Ethiopian Federal Army to use its territory for operations. The Ethiopian Army’s estimated total strength ranges between 250,000 and 300,000 troops, armed mainly with Soviet origin weapons. Efforts to modernize the country’s armed forces have been taking place in recent years with the acquisition of modern weapon systems such as the Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft system.  

Screenshot from the ETV channel (part of the Ethiopian state broadcaster EBC)

Tigray People’s Liberation Front was founded in 1975 at a time when hundreds of millions of people across Africa and the Middle East called for rebellions and freedom. In 1976, Haile Selassie A’, the last emperor of Ethiopia, was ousted and assassinated by hardline Marxist army officers, who immediately began imposing a brutal dictatorship.

By the late 1970s the power of the TPLF had increased significantly. By 1978 the movement had about 2,000 fighters, according to CIA estimates at the time. Two years later, the movement could mobilize twice as many troops.

Among the TPLF fighters was Debretsion, the current leader of the movement who was then a signals soldier, with the task of listening to propaganda about the guerrillas.

Watch a short Reuters video below that outlines the Ethiopian Civil War and the inevitable humanitarian crisis that has plagued the country for decades.


With information from: CNA, APA-MPA, Reuters-AFP 

Also read: Egypt and Ethiopia in the course of a water conflict





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