Tigray: Ethiopian Prime Minister Launches the Final Phase


After the expiry of the 72-hour ultimatum on Wednesday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has declared an offensive on Makelle in what he termed as the “third and final phase” of the three-week offensive. The Ethiopian Prime Minister urged Makelle residents to disarm, stay indoors, and stay away from military targets.

Mr. Abiy also added that “great care” will be taken so as not to harm civilians. The Ethiopian troops will also not target institutions, religious and historical sites, and residential areas.

The military strategy will see Tigray’s People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) leaders be arrested without harming civilians.

AU Special Envoy

The three former heads of states, including former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano, and former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe appointed by African Union (AU) chair have arrived in Ethiopia to push for a peaceful agreement between the two warring Ethiopian leaders.

The special envoy will not be permitted to travel to Tigray following the Ethiopian government’s recent claim that the conflict was internal, and it was an act of “law enforcement.”

Ethiopian official Redwan Hussein said the talks were “not possible” considering that “TPLF leadership is still large.”

Humanitarian aid

In the recent past, humanitarian aid to the Tigray region was impossible following the state’s complete lockdown since 4 November 2020, in addition to communication and electricity outage in the area. The state has also had a shortage of cash and fuel.

United Nations (UN) raised concern that the area’s inaccessibility had hindered any form of humanitarian aid. Speaking to BBC, Michele Bachelet warned of a “potential for serious violations of international human rights law.”

The UN projects that 1.1million Ethiopians will need aid as a consequence of the conflict.

On Thursday, the Ethiopian authorities announced the opening of a humanitarian access route. They reaffirmed their commitment to work with the UN to offer protection to locals and those who needed it.

Pending Attack on Makelle

Speaking to France24, Finance Minister Ahmed Shide said that the government was making Makelle residents aware of the pending attack by “deploying military helicopters and dropping pamphlets in Tigrinya and also in Amharic.”

Ethiopian troops were on Thursday deployed along the Tigray-Sudan border, preventing people from fleeing the country.

In a retaliatory response, Bebretsion Gebremichael, TPLF’s leader, has affirmed that Tigray forces are “ready to die“ to defend their right to rule over the region. The number of Tigrayan forces is estimated to be 250,000.

According to Reuters’ diplomatic source, TPLF has recruited many Makelle residents and equipped them with AK-47. They are also reported to be digging trenches, causing speculations of possible guerrilla warfare.

Information about the Tigray region and its capital Makelle is scanty because communications, including calls and internet, have been cut in the area. But what remains known is that fighting is still well out of Makelle.



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