Slim Chance

Ethiopia: Latest fighting in Tigray and Amhara has no clear gains for either side

By Fred Harter

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Posted on October 25, 2021 08:00

Ethiopia Tigray Crisis
Smoke from fires billows at the scene of an airstrike in Mekele, the capital of the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. (AP Photo, File)

Fighting continues to rage in northern Ethiopia after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a major offensive involving thousands of troops against rebels from the country’s Tigray region earlier this month.

The push is aimed at retaking parts of Amhara that the Tigray forces occupied after reclaiming much of their region in June. Federal troops are being supported by regional militias from Amhara after politicians launched a mass mobilisation drive there, calling on all able-bodied men to join the fight and touting it as a battle for survival.

Trying to flee

Access to the front is restricted and the fighting is taking place amid a communications blackout in some parts of the country, making it difficult to chart its course, but reports indicate that the offensive has stalled. The Tigrayan rebels claim to have pushed south towards Dessie, a major city housing tens of thousands of people displaced by the conflict.

On Wednesday 20 October, Tigray spokesman Getachew Reda claimed Dessie and the nearby town of Kombolcha was now within range of his force’s artillery, sparking panic in the town.

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