The pinnacle of native forces in Ethiopia’s northern area of Tigray says they’re nonetheless combating close to town of Mekelle, which was seized by authorities troops on the weekend.
Debretsion Gebremichael, who leads the Tigray Individuals’s Liberation Entrance (TPLF), additionally says his fighters have retaken one other key metropolis.
The federal government denies the claims and insists the TPLF has been crushed.
A whole bunch of individuals have reportedly been killed within the month-long battle.
Hundreds have been displaced, whereas the UN and help businesses have voiced concern in regards to the humanitarian scenario.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed informed parliament on Monday that not a single civilian had been killed because the authorities launched its offensive in early November.
With all cellphone strains and the web minimize off, it’s unimaginable to independently confirm statements from both aspect.
What does the TPLF say?
In a textual content message to Reuters information company on Sunday, Debretsion Gebremichael claimed that his forces had shot down an Ethiopian warplane and captured the pilot.
In one other message on Monday, he mentioned that the TPLF was “near Mekelle, combating”.
Mr Debretsion additionally mentioned the TPLF had retaken town of Aksum from the federal military.
On Monday, Fisseha Asgedom, a former Ethiopian ambassador to the UN with affiliations to the TPLF, informed the BBC that experiences by the Addis Ababa authorities of a sweeping advance had been “a joke”.
“The Addis Ababa authorities introduced that they’ve captured Mekelle and 6 hours after they introduced this they bombarded Mekelle… It is propaganda. Why cannot they ship the worldwide group some movies?”
What does the Ethiopian authorities say?
PM Abiy introduced that Mekelle – Tigray’s regional capital – had fallen to the military on Saturday, describing the transfer because the “final part” in his authorities’s offensive.
In a BBC interview on Monday, Minister of Democratisation Zadig Abraha, denied the TPLF’s claims that they’d captured Aksum and shot down a airplane.
He additionally mentioned the TPLF had been “not engaged in a guerrilla struggle” however had been “operating for his or her lives”.
“Their rank and file have disbanded. Everyone seems to be surrendering,” he added.
Redwan Hussein, a senior federal official in Tigray, mentioned authorities troopers had been cautious to not contain civilians of their advance.
Troops “simply left the cities encircled after which moved on to the subsequent. That is how we see no casualty out of our operation till we additionally reached Mekelle”, he mentioned.
Who’re the TPLF?
The TPLF fighters, drawn principally from a paramilitary unit and a well-drilled native militia, are thought to quantity about 250,000.
The organisation was based within the Seventies and spearheaded the rebellion towards Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, who was toppled in 1991.
It then went on to be the dominant political drive within the nation till Mr Abiy grew to become prime minister in 2018.
Mr Debretsion has mentioned the Tigray forces had been “able to die in defence of our proper to manage our area”.
What’s the combating about?
The battle is rooted in longstanding stress between Ethiopia’s authorities and the TPLF, which dominated your entire nation till Mr Abiy got here to energy in 2018.
When Mr Abiy postponed a nationwide election due to coronavirus in June, relations additional deteriorated.
The TPLF mentioned the federal government’s mandate to rule had expired, arguing that Mr Abiy had not been examined in a nationwide election.
In September the occasion held its personal election, which the federal government mentioned was “unlawful”.
In early November, TPLF fighters entered a navy base in Mekelle which led to the beginning of the federal military’s operation in Tigray.