The Ethiopian army made the announcement on Wednesday that it had shot down a plane loaded with weapons destined for the Tigray rebels. The report was made by the official Ethiopian news agency, ENA, which cited a senior officer. The plane had flown over Sudan before entering Ethiopian airspace and violating Ethiopian airspace.
General Tesfaye Ayalew was quoted by ENA as saying, “The plane that violated our airspace from Sudan and which aimed to supply weapons to the terrorist group was shot down by our air force,” but he did not specify the origin of the aircraft or the date on which it was shot down. On Wednesday, fighting started up again in border areas of the Tigray province. The Tigrayan rebels and the federal government both blamed the other for breaking the ceasefire that had been in place for the previous five months.
Before the Ethiopian government accused the rebel authorities in Tigray of “breaking” the truce, the rebel authorities in Tigray accused the federal Ethiopian army of having launched a “large-scale offensive” against their positions. This accusation came after the Ethiopian government accused the rebel authorities of “breaking” the truce. A spokesperson for the rebel authority in Tigray, Getachew Reda, told AFP from Nairobi that the Ethiopian federal forces “started an onslaught early this (Wednesday) morning about 05:00 (02:00 GMT). We are holding our positions.”
On Twitter, he mentioned a “large-scale onslaught” that will be launched against the “positions on the southern front” held by Tigrayan rebels. “The Tigray rebel forces began an offensive today at 05:00” [02:00 GMT] and “broke the truce,” the Ethiopian government said in a statement in response to the Tigray rebels’ actions. “The Ethiopian government has made multiple peace overtures, but the Tigray rebel forces have ignored all of them.”
The government said its valiant defense forces and all of our security forces are responding victoriously and in a coordinated manner to this attack, while also calling on the international community to exert “strong pressure” on the rebel authorities in Tigray. “Our valiant defense forces and all of our security forces are responding victoriously and in a coordinated manner to this attack.” Due to the region’s severe isolation from the rest of the country, it is impossible to independently verify the accusations that are being made by either side.
In response to the most recent escalation, Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, said that he was sad and asked for a stop to the fighting. The news that hostilities have been resumed in Ethiopia has left me in a state that is equal parts astonished and heartbroken. Too much suffering has already been inflicted upon Ethiopians, Tigrayans, Amharas, Oromos, and Afars. My strong appeal is for an immediate cessation of hostilities as well as the resumption of peace talks between the government and the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front). At the same time, the full guarantee of humanitarian access to people in need and the reestablishment of public services is also required. Guterres stated.
The fighting is the first serious confrontation that has been reported since both sides agreed to a truce before the end of March, and the truce has been mostly respected up to this point. On Wednesday, it was reported by both the government and the rebels that there was fighting in the southeastern tip of Tigray, which borders the neighboring areas of Amhara to the west and Afar to the east.
In a statement, the Tigrayan rebels accused the Ethiopian government of intending to capture southern Tigray through their onslaught on this front. According to the Amhara Fano militia, which is assisting government forces in their fight against Tigrayan rebels, the fighting is taking place in the Mehago and Jemedo areas of the Amhara region. These areas are not far from the Kobo area, which is also in the Amhara region but has been occupied by Tigrayan rebels since a counter-offensive in 2021.
The Fano militia claims that no fighting is currently taking place within Tigray’s borders; however, this cannot be independently verified. Fighting was reportedly taking place in a border area between the Afar region and southeast Tigray, according to APDA, a non-governmental organization engaged in the Afar region. The Tigrayan rebels are being driven out of Afar as “Federal soldiers are there in numbers (in the area) of Yallo and are pushing.”
In recent days, the tone between the federal government and the tiger rebels has become more heated, with each side accusing the other of preparing to resume hostilities. This is despite the fact that both parties have repeatedly pledged to begin negotiations within the past two months, but those negotiations have not yet begun. On Tuesday, the Ethiopian federal army accused the tiger rebels of “defaming” it by accusing it of “moving towards their positions” or “bombing” them.
Even as early afternoon approached on Wednesday, the African Union (AU), which has its headquarters in Addis Ababa and is currently in the forefront of efforts to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table, had not yet issued a statement in response to the increased fighting. In November 2020, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent the Ethiopian army to Tigray to get rid of the local government, which he said was attacking military posts and had been fighting against his authority for a few months before the fighting.
The Ethiopian federal army was backed up by regional forces and Amhara militias, in addition to an expeditionary force from the neighboring country of Eritrea, whose troops are currently stationed in western Tigray. Following an early pullback, the Tigrayan rebels launched a counteroffensive in the middle of 2021 that took them into the adjacent Amhara and Afar regions, which allowed them to retake control of the majority of the region. As a result of the fighting, which has also destroyed the country’s economy, Tigray is going through a very bad humanitarian crisis.