Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed vowed to continue the military offensive in the northern Tigray region, amid fears of a slide into civil conflict.
Tensions have escalated between the region and the federal government for months.
On Wednesday, Ahmed’s administration accused Tigrayans of attacking a federal army base.
Meanwhile, the Tigray region chief said that the region was at war.
In a televised statement, Depression Gebremichael said resources would be mobilized to prepare for the conflict.
The territory’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, was once the center of power in Ethiopia, but has been increasingly marginalized since Abiy Ahmed became prime minister in 2018.
What did the Ethiopian Prime Minister say?
In a televised address, Abe, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, said the military operation has been a success and will continue.
He said that the attack was in response to a bloody attack on an army camp, without mentioning the number of dead.
What do we know about confrontations?
Details are few, while the Prime Minister said that the information will be published once the operations are over.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, he said he had ordered a military attack after forces loyal to the provincial government took over a military base. He accused the TPLF of the attack.
He said in a televised address that the attack resulted in “martyrs, injuries and property damage.”
Later on Wednesday, the BBC spoke to eyewitnesses, who confirmed that the Northern Command headquarters in Mikkeli, the capital of the Tigray region, was under the control of Tigray’s Special Forces. This does not appear to have changed.
A source from a humanitarian organization told Reuters that shelling and shooting were heard near the border with Amhara State in the early hours of Thursday morning.
The source was quoted as saying that about 20 soldiers are receiving treatment in a local clinic, without specifying which side they came from.
What does the territorial government say?
Departition confirmed that fighting was taking place in the western part of his province, on the border with Amhara.
He said that federal forces, as well as soldiers from Amhara, jointly fought Tigrayans.
Debrecion added that his forces had captured “most of the weapons” from the Northern Command headquarters.
“The Tigrayans should not be attacked with weapons in Tigrayans. We are fully armed now. We are not less armed than them, maybe better,” he said.
How is aNoMoore in Mikkeli?
There were reports of gunfire early Wednesday morning, but calm has since returned to the city.
Eyewitnesses told the BBC that telephone, internet and electricity lines were cut and banks were closed, but people were on the streets carrying out their normal activities.
There is also a heavy security presence of members of the regional force.
What do diplomats say?
On Wednesday, amid the US election drama, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement calling for an end to any fighting.
“We are saddened by the tragic loss of life, and we urge immediate measures to be taken to restore peace and calm tensions … Protecting the safety and security of civilians is essential,” he said.
Sources told Reuters that the African Union, which is based in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, is pressing for talks, but the government is not ready to negotiate.
why all that?
The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front was the strongest partner in the ruling coalition in Ethiopia until 2018. When Abe took office after nationwide protests by the Oromo ethnicity. Since then, the party’s power has waned.
Abe created a new ruling party, but the front did not join it.
In September, the Tigrayan authorities pressed ahead with elections, in defiance of the nationwide delay in place in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The federal government described the elections to the Parliament of Tigray as “illegal.”
The vote raised concerns that the front was paving the way for the creation of a breakaway state, with Parliament and government taking power without the approval of the federal government.
But the front said it was committed to keeping the region inside Ethiopia, but made it clear that it would defend “autonomy” and oppose what it described as Abe’s attempt to build a strong “united” state.
Debrestion told reporters, on Monday, that the government would attack the region, citing this as punishment for organizing the elections.
Abe then accused the TPLF of attacking the military base.
The federal government also declared a six-month state of emergency in Tigray State, and airspace in the region was closed.