Eritrean and Ethiopian forces today launched a full scale ground invasion of Tigray region from multiple directions. The step indicates another high point in the resumption of armed hostilities on August 24 between Ethiopian federal forces supported by Eritrean army and Tigray regional forces.
The conflict in northern part of Ethiopia originally started in November 2020 when Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), regional forces, militias and Eritrean Defense Force (EDF) launched ground invasion of Tigray region. After 7-month long fighting, invading forces left Tigray followed by massive counter offensive launched by Tigray regional forces into neighboring Amhara and Afar regions in July 2021.
In March this year, Ethiopian government announced unilateral humanitarian ceasefire which was reciprocated by Tigray regional government. Regional and international efforts between March & August this year led to several sessions of direct and indirect talks between federal and regional governments but no agreement could be reached.
Last month on August 24, fighting resumed in northern Ethiopia. Both parties accused each other of breaking the humanitarian ceasefire announced in March. But fighting was restricted to a few fronts. Read more…
Today Eritrean forces supported by Ethiopian army launched a major ground invasion of Tigray from north. Heavy fighting in Tigray-Eritrea border areas on Irob, Zalambessa, Rama, Tsorona and Sheraro fronts is being reported.
In recent days, several cargo flights were spotted between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Ethiopian troops and military assets were transported to Eritrea before the start of today’s major ground offensive. According to some media reports of last week, Eritrea ordered general mobilization in the country and reservists were told to report at their units. The measures indicated that Ethiopian and Eritrean governments were making preparations for a protracted war against Tigray region.
US and other international and regional mediators have been in Ethiopia in recent days. The mediators succeeded in bringing the warring factions to negotiating table in Djibouti. US Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa, Mike Hammer remained in Ethiopia for around two weeks. He held a meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed too. But diplomatic engagements could not avert another round of Tigray Ethiopia Eritrea war.
It seems as if Ethiopian federal government and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki have decided to remove Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), ruling party in Tigray, from Mekelle, Tigray’s capital.
Tens of thousands have been killed on all sides in this conflict so far. Million have been displaced and majority of people in conflict areas are dependent on food aid for survival. But since the resumption of fighting last month, delivery of humanitarian aid to the Tigray region and bordering areas of Amhara and Afar regions has been suspended.