World The Ethiopian army continues its offensive in Tigray despite calls for de-escalation

23:05  21 november  2020
23:05  21 november  2020 Source:   france24.com

Ethiopia’s Tigray leader confirms firing missiles at Eritrea

  Ethiopia’s Tigray leader confirms firing missiles at Eritrea NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The leader of Ethiopia’s rebellious Tigray region has confirmed firing missiles at neighboring Eritrea’s capital and is threatening more, marking a huge escalation as the deadly fighting in northern Ethiopia between Tigray forces and the federal government spills across an international border. Tigray regional President Debretsion Gebremichael, in a phone interview Sunday with The Associated Press, would not say how many missiles were fired at the city of Asmara on Saturday but said it was the only city in Eritrea that was targeted.

The Ethiopian army on Thursday said the country had been pushed into an "aimless war" with its northern Tigray region, which in turn said that areas around its capital were being bombed by fighter jets. The conflict in the region continued to escalate despite international calls for talks to calm the

The Tigray region has been facing a rebellion since earlier this month. On November 4, security forces loyal to the TPLF attacked the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) in Mekelle, killing several people. Ethiopian prime minister vows 'final' offensive in Tigray .

Des réfugiés éthiopiens ayant fui les combats au Tigré photographiés dans l'Etat de Gedaref au Soudan, le 20 novembre 2020. © AFP - Ashraf Shazly Ethiopian refugees who fled the fighting in Tigray photographed in Gedaref state in Sudan on November 20, 2020.

The Ethiopian government said on Saturday it had taken control of several towns in the dissident province of Tigray. Military advances unverifiable independently, this region being almost cut off from the world.

The Ethiopian government continued, Saturday, November 21, its military offensive to retake the dissident region of Tigray, remaining deaf to international calls for the de-escalation of this conflict which caused the to flee tens of thousands of people and made fear a humanitarian disaster.

Ethiopia warns civilians of 'no mercy' in Tigray offensive

  Ethiopia warns civilians of 'no mercy' in Tigray offensive NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia’s military is warning civilians in the besieged Tigray regional capital that there will be “no mercy” if they don’t “save themselves” before a final offensive to flush out defiant regional leaders — a threat that Human Rights Watch on Sunday said could violate international law. “From now on, the fighting will be a tank battle,” spokesman Col. Dejene Tsegaye said late Saturday, asserting that the army was marching on the Tigray capital, Mekele, and would encircle it with tanks. “Our people in Mekele should be notified that they should protect themselves from heavy artillery.

Ethiopia has so far rejected calls for talks over the crisis, seeing its operation as internal "law The conflict is rooted in long-standing tension between powerful regional party the Tigray People's 3. Most people in Tigray are Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. The region's Christian roots stretch back 1

Despite its small numbers, the Tigrayan ethnic group has for almost three decades enjoyed disproportionate power and influence in government Mr. Abiy said the government’s offensive was in response to an attack early Wednesday morning by the T.P.L.F. on a military base in Tigray .

"Our forces are advancing towards Mekele," the capital of the dissident region, government media Ethiopia State of Emergency Fact Check said on Saturday. Mekele is the stronghold of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which rules the region.

Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2019, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched this operation on November 4 against the TPLF, accusing them of seeking to destabilize the federal government and of attacking two Ethiopian military bases in the region, which the Tigrayan authorities deny.

According to the government agency, the army has also taken control of several towns in Tigray, including Aksum and Adigrat, some 117 km north of Mekele.

The TPLF reported an "intense bombardment" of Adigrat, in a statement, without indicating which side now had control of the city

As Ethiopia descends into civil war, civilians are caught in the crossfire

  As Ethiopia descends into civil war, civilians are caught in the crossfire More than 250,000 Ethiopian immigrants and their children live in the United States — more than from any other African country except Nigeria. More live in California than any other state.A man from the town of Alamata had climbed to the top of a hill, searching for a signal amidst a government-imposed blackout. He managed to pass along accounts that the regional government — the Tigray People’s Liberation Front — had placed a tank outside the city, camouflaged in green. Ten buses had arrived to bus residents of Tigrayan ethnicity to safety, leaving thousands of worried residents behind.

Ethiopian federal troops are closing in on Tigray ’s capital of Mekelle, Redwan Hussein, the government spokesperson for the state of emergency task force , told CNN on Wednesday. As the fighting between Ethiopian and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) soldiers rages in the region

Rebel forces from Ethiopia 's northern Tigray region on Friday fired rockets on the capital of neighboring Amhara, a local official said, heightening Ethiopian prime minister vows 'final' offensive in Tigray . The conflict has called into question whether Abiy — Africa's youngest leader and last

None of the claims of either side are verifiable from independent source , the Tigray being almost cut off from the world.

In a statement on Saturday, the Ethiopian Prime Minister welcomed the advance of the army: "Our forces have now fully liberated the town of Adigrat from the TPLF militia".

"Humanitarian needs"

"Together with the rest of Ethiopia, we will ensure that all humanitarian needs are met," he added.

"The security of all and the well-being of the population of Tigray is of paramount importance for the federal government and we will do what is necessary to ensure stability in the Tigray region", he continued. .

So far, the Prime Minister has not responded to international calls for de-escalation.

The African Union has appointed three former presidents as special envoys to Ethiopia to attempt mediation, South African head of state Cyril Ramaphosa, who currently holds the rotating presidency of the AU, announced on Friday evening.

Ethiopia's Tigray region claims rocket strikes on Eritrea airport

  Ethiopia's Tigray region claims rocket strikes on Eritrea airport The leader of the Tigray region of Ethiopia on Sunday claimed responsibility for rocket strikes on the airport in neighbouring Eritrea's capital, a move that ratcheted up fears of a wider conflict in the Horn of Africa region. On Saturday the TPLF claimed responsibility for rocket attacks on two airports in Amhara region, which borders Tigray to the south. rcb/ercDiplomats told AFP Saturday night that multiple rockets had struck the capital, Asmara, landing near the airport, though communications restrictions in Tigray and Eritrea made the reports difficult to verify.

Ethiopian government forces are closing in on the capital of the dissident Tigray region, where fighting that erupted on Nov. 4 has left hundreds of people dead and sparked a humanitarian crisis. “Our defense forces are moving forward and closing in on Mekele,” Redwan Hussein, Ethiopia ’s state

Ethiopia ’s air force has carried out strikes in the restive Tigray region, the country’s prime He said the air force destroyed heavy weapons in Tigray ’s capital, Mekele, and surrounding areas. I call for an immediate de - escalation of tensions and a peaceful resolution to the dispute,” the UN secretary

These are Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former president of Liberia, and Kgalema Motlanthe, ex-president of South Africa.

However, the AU did not specify when the three emissaries will be able to go there.

The Ethiopia State of Emergency Fact Check agency has indicated that the Prime Minister will meet with these envoys. She nevertheless contradicted Mr. Ramaphosa by indicating: "The information according to which the special envoys will go to Ethiopia for mediation between the federal government and the criminal forces of the TPLF is false."

The UN calls for humanitarian corridors

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, lamented that "so far there is no agreement from the Ethiopian authorities for external mediation".

The military operation in Addis Ababa crossed the borders of Tigray, with rocket fire from the TPLF in the north which targeted the capital of Eritrea Asmara, and in the south-west the region of Amhara.

After having dominated for 15 years the armed struggle in Ethiopia against the military-Marxist regime of the Derg, overthrown in 1991, the TPLF controlled with an iron fist for nearly three decades the political and security apparatus of the country, before to be gradually dismissed by Mr. Abiy since he became Prime Minister in 2018.

No precise assessment of the fighting, which has killed at least hundreds of people since November 4, is available from an independent source.

But more than 36,000 Ethiopians have already reached Sudan, according to the Sudanese Refugee Commission.

Antonio Guterres called for "the opening of humanitarian corridors" to come to the aid of the population trapped in the fighting.

With AFP

After escaping Ethiopia, mothers face giving birth in camps .
Like all mothers-to-be, Berekhti Burro dreamt of bringing new life into the world in a safe place, with love and care at home to give her baby the best start. But Burro, nine-months pregnant, was forced to flee intense fighting near her home in Humera in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, trekking for hours in the blazing sun to safety in neighbouring Sudan. Now the 27-year-old sits with her husband in their new home; a makeshift shelter in the rapidly growing tent-town of Um Raquba refugee camp, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the border.

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