Fighting erupts along border of Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region

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Cows walk past a tank damaged during fighting between the Ethiopian government and Tigray forces, near the town of Humera, Ethiopia, March 3, 2021. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

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NAIROBI, Aug. 24 (Reuters) – Fighting has broken out between troops from Ethiopia’s insurgent northern Tigray region and central government forces around the town of Kobo, residents and both sides said Wednesday, ending a months-long ceasefire .

The fighting is a major blow to hopes of peace talks between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the party that controls Tigray.

Both sides blame each other for the outbreak of the fighting.

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“Today at 5 a.m. (the TPLF) launched an attack on the Eastern Front, from the direction of Bisober, Zobel and Tekulshe. By implementing such a measure, it effectively broke the ceasefire,” the government’s communications service said in a statement. a statement.

The military command of the Tigrayan forces accused the government of violating the ceasefire and said in a statement it believed the southern attack was a diversionary maneuver and that their troops were expecting a major attack from the west.

Three residents report having heard heavy weapons since early morning. They also said there had been a movement of Ethiopian soldiers, Amhara special forces and Fano voluntary militias in the past two days.

They said they did not know who had started the fighting. Reuters could not immediately get information about the movements of the Tigrayan forces. Telephone connections in Tigray have been down for more than a year.

Ethiopian government spokesman Legesse Tulu, Colonel Getnet Adane’s military spokesman, Amhara’s regional spokesman Gizachew Muluneh and Prime Minister’s spokeswoman Billene Seyoum did not respond to requests for comment.

The fighting in Africa’s second most populous country has displaced millions of people, starved parts of Tigray and killed thousands of civilians.

LONG WAR

The war broke out in Tigray in November 2020 and spilled over into the neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara a year ago. Last November, Tigrayan troops marched on Addis Ababa, but were driven back by a government offensive in November.

A ceasefire was declared in March after both sides fought to a bloody stalemate and the government declared a humanitarian ceasefire, allowing much-needed food aid in the region.

In June, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government formed a committee to negotiate with the TPLF and earlier this month said it wanted talks “without preconditions”. The Tigray government has called for services to be restored to civilians before negotiations begin. read more

Tigray has been without banking and communications services since the military withdrew at the end of June. Fuel imports are restricted, limiting the distribution of aid.

The World Food Program (WFP) said in a report last week that only 20% of the fuel needed to distribute humanitarian supplies has entered Tigray since April 1. read more

Nearly 90% of people in the region are in need of help, the United Nations said, malnutrition warning rates had “skyped” and the situation was expected to get worse until the October harvest.

There is also a shortage of medical equipment and many drugs to treat common diseases such as visceral leishmaniasis, say doctors at Ayder Referral Hospital, the largest hospital in Tigray.

Health Minister Lia Tadesse said there was a nationwide shortage of the drug used to treat visceral leishmaniasis, but the available supplies “are being processed to be shipped to Tigray”.

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Report by the editors of Nairobi; Editing by Toby Chopra and Nick Macfie

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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