The Ethiopian army has reclaimed control of three cities in the war-torn northern Tigray region from Tigrayan rebel forces, according to the government. This news comes at a time when people are worried that the war between government troops and their allies and Tigrayan rebels will start up again.
The government said in a statement on Tuesday that the ENDF (Ethiopian National Defense Force) had taken control of the towns of Shire, Alamata, and Korem without fighting in urban areas, after the rebels said earlier that Shire had fallen. Earlier, in a statement, the Tigray Central Command announced that Shire had been taken over and added that the resistance fighters were in a “life or death” combat.
The town of Shire, which is home to a university and an airport, is located at a strategic crossroads that could provide the Ethiopian military with easier access to other Tigray areas. These areas include the towns of Axum and Adwa, as well as Mekelle, the capital of the region, which is approximately 140 kilometers (90 miles) away. As a result of the violence, tens of thousands of people have been forced to seek refuge in the city.
Since late 2020, Ethiopia’s army and allies, including troops from the neighboring country of Eritrea, have been engaged in intermittent conflict with Tigrayan forces. This war has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, the displacement of millions more, and the threat of starvation for hundreds of thousands. According to the authorities in Tigray, “if we do not defend ourselves against our adversaries, then they will continue the atrocities.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, issued a warning that air attacks in the volatile region risked seriously exacerbating the already “devastating impact” of hostilities on civilians. This warning came a day after United Nations chief Antonio Guterres issued a warning that the war was “spiraling out of control.”
In response to the comments made by the UN secretary general, Redwan Hussein, who serves as the national security adviser to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, shot back. It went into a downward spiral as it was expanded to other locations. At this point, it is only going to get worse and deteriorate more. Coming very soon: aid and other services (to the Tigray region)! Redwan stated this, implying that the administration thought it was gaining decisive military achievements.
Late in 2015, Tigrayan forces made their way into neighboring provinces and got within striking distance of the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, before being forced to retreat. Redwan said that the government was currently waiting for the African Union to say when peace talks would start.
The war started because regional power blocs have been fighting for control of all of Ethiopia for a long time. There were also big disagreements about how power should be shared between the federal government and regional governments.
In the past few days, senior US government officials, the UN, and the European Union have all called for a quick end to the fighting and for Eritrean troops to leave Ethiopia. They also want the African Union to help facilitate talks and stop the fighting.