The Ethiopian federal government on Thursday claimed to have forced rival forces in the war-hit Tigray region to withdraw neighboring Afar region, reported Al Jazeera. Denying the claims, the Tigrayan forces said they had simply redeployed forces to the more offensive Amhara region.
During a news conference in the capital, Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Dina Mufti said, “The TPLF force has left Afar.”
Mufti referred to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which ruled Ethiopia for three decades but was the northern region’s ruling party when fighting broke out in November 2020.
“According to military information, they were defeated and they left,” the Ethiopian minister said.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Spokesperson Billene Seyoum also claimed that the military forces have been in action in Afar’s war-torn regions along with the national defense forces, following which the TPLF have incurred heavy losses over the past weeks.
Refuting all claims made by Ethiopia, Tigrayan Spokesperson Getachew K Reda said that they had decided to move the army to the Amara highlands to curb violence in the area. However, either claim remains unverified so far.
Last year in November, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy had launched a coordinated attack against the rebel forces in the Northern Tigray region after attacks by TPLF forces on federal army camps.
Thousands of people have been killed due to the shelling in the Horn of Africa, while over 2 million have been displaced, as per reports. In January 2021, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) informed that about 56,000 fled to neighboring Sudan amidst the ongoing war. The conflict has led to a grave humanitarian crisis, with 400,000 people already suffering from famine conditions.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis prayed for those affected by the conflict in Ethiopia, appealing for “fraternity and solidarity so that the common desire for peace can be heard.”