The Ethiopian government army, along with troops from the Amhara region, has launched a major offensive in the northern Tigray region. That is what the Tigrese authorities, who want to secede from Ethiopia, have Monday said. The offensive violates the ceasefire that the government army led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared in June after violence flared up in the region last November.
The Ethiopian armed forces have entered Tigray, the Tigreans say, with “heavy artillery, tanks, missiles, drones and warplanes,” leaving “no doubt about their devastating intentions.” A spokesman for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told international news agencies that “the Ethiopian government will continue to fight the destruction, violence and killings of the Tigres rebels.”
Also read: Is there genocide in Tigray on behalf of higher authorities?
Tigray’s government says it has been anticipating what it calls a ‘definitive’ offensive for some time: since the withdrawal of government forces in the summer, Prime Minister Ahmed is said to have bought “modern weapons from different countries”. In August, the government called on “all capable Ethiopians” to join the army to stop the rebels in Tigray “once and for all”.
Human rights groups have been warning for some time that the Ethiopian government in Tigray is committing crimes against humanity, perhaps even genocide. According to a research group at the University of Ghent, 250 large and small mass murders were carried out in Tigray until this spring by Eritrean and Ethiopian government soldiers and a militia from the Amhara region. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed called the Tigres population “a cancerous tumor” and a “weed” that had to be “uprooted” last summer.