News: Fighting on the Tigray Afar border has again escalated. New reports of heavy clashes between the two neighboring regions are coming in.
Tigray forces entered the neighboring region at the end of January this year. Tigray government accused Afar militias backed by the Eritrean army of border incursions into Tigray. Since then Tigray forces have been trying to take control of Afar territory on the Afar-Tigray border.
According to estimates by Afar regional government, more than 300,000 civilians have been displaced from 5 woredas of the Afar region since the start of new armed hostilities.
The heaviest clashes on the Afar side of the border were seen at the end of January and February. At the start of March this year, fighting largely stopped. Tigray government was heard saying that there was no fighting along Mekele-Abala-Semera road.
But for the past 10 days or so, clashes have intensified mainly due to counter-offensive launched by Afar fighters to push Tigray forces back.
According to several news sources, Tigray Defense Force (TDF) has been in control of five Afar woredas of Afar for more than a month. Abala, Megale, Erebti, Berhale and Konneba. But in recent days, Afar militias pushed Tigray forces towards Abala town.
Now clashes are being reported near Gube Kebele, Wailu village which is 8 km away from Abala. On the Berhale front, Tigray forces were trying to move towards Dimale village. But they have been pushed back towards Berhale. The situation around Berhale and Koneba has become largely volatile.
Afar-backed news sources have shared several pictures of captured TDF soldiers and weapons from the Gube-Wasama front this week. Afar forces have reportedly taken back a key road that links Abala and Berhale towns.
The Tigray government claims that it does not want to occupy any land in Afar and its forces merely want to push Afar militias away from the Tigray border. Afar regional government, on the other hand, accuses Tigray forces of eyeing Afar’s natural resources. Read more..
In official statements, Afar government officials have been heard saying that Tigray forces want to move towards the Ethiopia-Djibouti road and Eritrea border.
But it seems that Tigray forces are not planning any major advance in Afar to reach the Ethiopia-Djibouti road or Eritrea border. But the situation on the Tigray-Afar border is far from being peaceful.