The dissident leader of the war-hit Tigray in Ethiopia has promised to drive the “enemy” out of the area, which shows that the fighting will continue despite the federal government’s declaration of a ceasefire.
An eyewitness told Reuters that the Eritrean army fighting alongside the Ethiopian army had disappeared in the Shire town of Tigray. Before retreating, the Tigray army fought the Ethiopian government and obtained territory for several days.
Witnesses, who declined to be named for security reasons, said that Eritrean soldiers have not been there since Monday night. The second resident confirmed that the Eritrean army moved from Shire to northern towns on a large scale.
Prime Minister Abi Ahmed sent federal troops to Tigray in November last year to dissolve the government of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the northern region.
He said that the move was in response to the TPLF’s attack on the federal barracks and promised a quick victory.
But nearly eight months later, when the rebels entered the regional capital Merkler on Monday, the operation was hit hard. Federal soldiers and members of the Provisional Regional Government appointed by Abi fled the streets, triggering street celebrations.
The Abbey government subsequently announced on Monday night Announcing a “unilateral ceasefire” – Although TPLF did not immediately respond.
Before the war, the Tigray government issued a statement overnight praising the progress of its soldiers and stated that Mekele was completely under his control.
“The Tigray government and army will perform all necessary tasks to ensure the survival and safety of our people,” it said. “The Tigray government calls on our people and the Tigray army to intensify the struggle until our enemy completely leaves Tigray.”
A guerrilla war
Al Jazeera’s Shiba Morgan reported in neighbouring Sudan’s Khartoum that the announcement of the ceasefire by the federal government acknowledged that the Ethiopian Defense Forces were in a different situation from a week ago.
“Let us not forget that on November 28, about three weeks after the attack on the Tigray area, Prime Minister Abi Ahmed declared that the war was basically over and the situation was stable. [new] The government,” Morgan said.
“He did not announce a ceasefire at the time. The Tigray Liberation Movement stated that even if it was a guerrilla warfare, they would continue to fight, which apparently happened a few months after Abiy announced it.”
Although the Tigray Defence Force (TDF) has not controlled any major cities and towns for months, its leaders have repeatedly boasted that they are regrouping in remote rural areas.
Last week, TDF launched a major offensive that coincided with the highly anticipated national elections in Ethiopia, which took place in most parts of the country, but not in Tigray.
The results of the polls have not yet been announced, but it is widely expected that they will provide Abi with a formal authorization.
The “difficult” road to peace
The brutal war in Tigray was marked by massacres, widespread sexual violence and other abuses.
The UN also warned that the conflict has forced hundreds of thousands of people On the verge of famine.
When announcing the ceasefire, the federal government stated that the ceasefire will last until the end of the current “agricultural season”, aiming to promote agricultural production and the distribution of aid supplies, while allowing the rebels to “return to the path of peace.”
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday that he had talked with Abi, the winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, and “hoped that the two sides can effectively cease hostilities.”
He called the recent incidents in Tigray “extremely worrying” and said they “reaffirm that there is no military solution to this crisis.”
Diplomatic sources said the United Kingdom, the United States and Ireland have called on the UN Security Council to hold an emergency public meeting, which may be held on Friday.
Since the outbreak of the war, the Security Council has failed to hold a public meeting on the Tigray issue. Many African countries, China, Russia and other countries consider this crisis to be an internal affair of Ethiopia.
Throughout the battle, Abi benefited from the military support of soldiers from neighboring Eritrea and the Amhara region bordering Tigray in southern Ethiopia.
Connor Vasey, an analyst at risk consulting firm Eurasia Group, said that the intervention of these forces “will complicate the full implementation of the temporary ceasefire, which so far appears to be a unilateral act of the federal government.” Initiatives”.
Vasey said that if discussions about possible political solutions do continue, they “may be difficult and protracted.”