Tigray forces are advancing into the neighboring Afar region. Since the withdrawal of TDF from the Amhara and Afar regions last month, tensions have been rising on the Tigray-Afar border.
Both regional governments have been accusing each of border incursions. In a statement from the Tigray government 48 hours ago, the government accused Afar regional forces and Eritrean troops, backed by the Ethiopian government, of attacks on Tigray.
Afar regional government also issued a statement yesterday. It said that Tigray fighters had entered Abala, Megale, and Berhale woredas of the Afar region. The government accused TDF of killing civilians. Thousands had been displaced in attacks from Tigray, said the government.
Fresh reports indicate that TDF has entered another Afar woreda. Erebti woreda is situated to the east of Abala and Megale. According to locals of the area, Tigray forces have entered Erebti woreda. Fighting between Tigray and Afar fighters is going on between Abala and Erebti too.
Two days ago, the Ethiopian government announced to ease restrictions on aid agencies working in Tigray and send aid trucks. But later it said that aid trucks could not reach Mekelle due to fighting on the Tigray-Afar border. While Tigray government in its statement accused the Ethiopian Federal and Afar regional government of starting armed hostilities in border areas to keep aid delivery blocked.
Afar-Tigray route via Abala was the only available road for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Tigray. With thousands displaced from Abala, Megale, Erebti, and Berhala districts of Afar, both regional governments are exchanging accusations while fighting rages on.
Last year Tigray forces launched several major offensives into the Afar region. TDF tried to reach the strategic Ethiopia-Djibouti road in Afar. After suffering military setbacks, last month Tigray forces withdrew from Afar. But within the past few days, fighting has again intensified.