Ethiopian forces battle Tigrayan rebels for management of the important thing

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Ethiopian forces and Tigrayan rebels fought a pitched battle for management of Kombolcha on Monday, terrified residents reported after rebels claimed that they had taken management of their second city in two days.

Reports of the seize of Kombolcha by the rebels got here a day after claiming management of Dessie and, if confirmed, would mark a serious advance by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) within the battle in nearly a yr.

Much of northern Ethiopia is underneath a communications blackout and journalists’ entry is restricted, making claims on the battlefield tough to independently confirm.

Residents of Kombolcha described steady gunfire in a single day and into the early hours of Monday, with some claiming to listen to what seemed to be an airstrike on the outskirts of city round midnight.

“The night was filled with numerous gun shots,” mentioned Mohammed, who, like different residents, refused to share his final title for safety causes.

“I heard an airstrike after midnight outside the borders of Kombolcha,” he added.

Hamdiu, a Kombolcha dealer, advised AFP he too heard what appeared like an airstrike round midnight.

“Huge gunshots were heard until (this) morning,” he mentioned, with the rebels engaged in combating with federal troops and native militias.

The United States is alarmed by reviews of the TPLF takeover of Dessie and Kombolcha. Continued combating prolongs the extreme humanitarian disaster in northern Ethiopia. All events should cease army operations and start ceasefire negotiations with out preconditions.

– Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) November 1, 2021 Over the previous two weeks, the Ethiopian authorities has carried out a collection of aerial bombardments in Tigray.

But to date, no bombings have focused the Amhara area, the place Kombolcha and Dessie are positioned, a authorities spokeswoman advised AFP on Monday: “There have been no airstrikes. in Kombolcha during the night “.

Control of the sky, with a superior workforce, is one in every of the few remaining areas the place the federal government has a army benefit over the rebels.

“Death siege”

AFP couldn’t attain anybody in Dessie, the place heavy combating was reported on Sunday.

The insurgent offensive in cities south of Addis Ababa fueled hypothesis that the TPLF was approaching the Ethiopian capital.

But insurgent spokesman Getachew Reda mentioned the TPLF, which dominated nationwide politics for 3 a long time till 2018, had “no other motive than to break the deadly siege” of Tigray, in affected by a severe humanitarian disaster.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed urged the Ethiopians to make use of “all kinds of weapons … to block the destructive TPLF, topple it and bury it”.

“Dying for Ethiopia is a duty (for) all of us,” he mentioned.

The Amhara administration on Sunday ordered all authorities establishments to droop common providers and divert their budgets to “the survival campaign.”

Elsewhere in Amhara, rebels from the Oromo Liberation Army – who’re allied with the TPLF – introduced on Sunday that that they had captured the city of Kemissie, south of Kombolcha and positioned on a serious highway resulting in Addis Ababa.

The battle erupted final November when Abiy deployed troops to Tigray, promising an early victory. Instead, the operation degenerated right into a protracted battle marked by massacres, mass rapes and a humanitarian disaster.

(AFP)

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