TDF new strategy to cripple Ethiopian troops in war-torn Tigray
NAIROBI, Kenya – The Tigray Defense Forces [TDF] devised a new strategy to cripple the Ethiopian administration, it has now emerged, just a week after Addis Ababa apparently abandoned the ceasefire it declared, fueling tensions in Ethiopia in the latest development .
In a strong speech last week, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accused the Tigray Defense Forces [TDF] not to adhere to the principles of the unilateral ceasefire, adding that “we will now protect our people against terrorists”.
But the inflexible TDF had initially set a multitude of conditions for a ceasefire, calling for the unconditional withdrawal of Eritrean troops and regional forces from Amhara, whom it accuses of having “committed genocide” in Tigray. The TDF had captured Mekelle, the regional administrative capital of Tigray.
Throughout this period, TDF announced victory over Ethiopian troops but Addis Ababa maintained that the army had withdrawn to allow “humanitarian teams to access Tigray without difficulty”. The war between the TDF and ENDF separatists has left thousands dead and millions displaced in Tigray.
However, to further restrict the national army, TDF has reportedly devised a new strategy, which will act in retaliation for Ethiopia’s allegations of intimidation of humanitarian aid teams moving from south to Tigray. The ENDF is accused of erecting barriers thus making it difficult for humanitarian teams to access Tigray.
In the new strategy, confirmed several sources, TDF will now take control of the road and a rail link to Djibouti, thus cutting off the supply of goods to Addis Ababa. Ethiopia, being landlocked, depends entirely on the port of Djibouti for imports and exports.
TDF insists “If Ethiopia wants to suffocate us, we are suffocating Ethiopia”. Tigray fighters, who accuse Abiy Ahmed of imprisonment, are also determined to rally rebels in the Afar region to strengthen his force now considered “strong and dangerous”.
If TDF’s plan is successful, Ethiopia could now run out of fuel as the port of Djibouti will be blocked to the north by Tigray forces. Ethiopia has yet to start using the port of Berbera in Somaliland, which would have been an option.
Rashid Abdi, security analyst on Horn of Africa issues, believes TDF was the main force of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] before he parted. The ENDF, he argues, is considerably weakened.
“There is no longer an ENDF capable of fighting. The Ethiopian army has collapsed, it will take 10 years to rehabilitate it,” he said. “[This] explains why Abiy had to tinker with the army of wretches drawn from ethnic states to fight in Tigray. What a depressing situation. “
TDF in Ethiopia’s war-stricken Tigray have carried out operations against pro-government troops in neighboring Afar, a spokesperson said on Sunday, opening a new front in the spreading conflict. for eight months.
The “very limited action” targeted special forces and militiamen in the Oromia region, the largest in Ethiopia, who were massing along the Tigray-Afar border, the spokesman told AFP. rebels, Getachew Reda.
“We have taken these steps to ensure that these forces are returned to Oromia, and we have succeeded in doing so,” Getachew said, adding that there had been a few casualties but he could not provide figures. Penetration into Afar seems to be one of the strategies to achieve the eventual takeover of the railroad and the road.
There are also reports that TDF intercepted a convoy full of Oromia militias in Afar. There was hardly a fight. Hundreds of Oromo fighters simply surrendered. “The ethnic militias are not fools. They have no interest in waging war on Tigray. It is not their fight,” adds Rashid Abdi.
A convoy carrying food for Ethiopia’s war-stricken Tigray was attacked over the weekend, the United Nations said on Monday, dealing another blow to the distribution of aid in an area threatened by famine .
The 10-vehicle World Food Program convoy was attacked on Sunday about 115 kilometers away [70 miles] from the town of Semera “while trying to move essential humanitarian cargoes to the Tigray region,” WFP said in a statement.
The agency said it was working with local officials to determine who was behind the incident.
“WFP has suspended the movement of all convoys coming from Semera until the security of the area is assured and the drivers can proceed safely.” Semera is the capital of the Afar region, which borders Tigray to the east.
The route via Semera to Tigray had become critical for the delivery of aid in recent weeks after two key bridges along other routes were destroyed in late June.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops to Tigray last November to arrest and disarm the leaders of the then ruling party in the region, the TDF. He said the move was a response to TDF attacks on Federal Army camps.
The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize laureate declared victory in late November after government forces captured Mekele, the capital of Tigray, but TDF leaders remained at large and fighting continued.