Assad dismisses Syria's central bank chief: State news agency    Liverpool's Klopp urges caution against high-flying but depleted Real    CIB's stocks hit lowest level in 28 months early Tuesday    African civil society representatives call for GERD 2nd filling postponement    Nile tensions spill over    Ukraine minister calls for military help, more Russia sanctions    Tennis: Medvedev tests COVID-19 positive, out of Monte Carlo Masters    Women more affected than men by depression: Egyptian Psychiatric Association    Forging a stronger partnership    Live score: Chelsea v FC Porto (UEFA Champions League)    Party consensus    Ramadan and the pandemic in Egypt    Human rights vs coronavirus in Egypt    'MySafeUni Day' highlights fight against sexual harassment in universities    Sisi directs to speed up implementation of digitisation initiative in Egypt    34 projects worth $3.3bn aim to achieve gender equality in Egypt: Al-Mashat    Egypt's trade deficit widens by 6.6% during H1 of FY20/2021, CBE    Opportune time for archaeotourism    Parliament discusses new budget    Ora Developers signs an agreement with Telecom Egypt for communication services at its projects    Sisi greets Egyptians, Muslim, Arab nations on occasion of Ramadan    Art Alert: Bahgaga to bring fun to Cairo's Zamalek Theatre with comedy music monologues    Tatweer Misr signs EGP 3.2bn worth investment contracts for Bloomfields educational zone    Egypt highlights anti-climate change efforts during Spring Meetings    Water wars    Don't miss AUC's Lions of Cairo ensemble concert    Prominent American rapper and actor DMX dies at 50    Al-Sisi, Lavrov address bilateral cooperation, Ethiopia's disputed dam    Narrative Summit launches 1st episode of Reshaping Norms 2021    Russia offers technical assistance in Nile dam negotiation: Lavrov    2021 Copenhagen Documentary Festival to launch Big Digital Live Platform    Egyptian artists honoured at Cairo Opera House for taking part in Golden Parade    Russian FM says Egypt is main partner in Middle East, Africa    Egyptian-African Relations Committee discusses strengthening Egypt's stance in Africa    Egypt will not allow internal water crisis due to Ethiopian dam: Water Minister    Egypt's Public Prosecution announces results of investigations into Sohag train crash    Egypt sees an uptick in new coronavirus infections registers 801 new cases on Saturday    PMI moves towards a smoke-free transformation, takes part in a webinar on e-cigarettes    Zamalek's Shikabala nominated for best goal in CAF Champions League    Egypt's national youth fencing team achieves world glory    Karate Federation celebrates success of Egypt Cup    Egypt's President warns of grave consequences of water crises in Africa    Allianz Egypt partners with IGNITE to equip brand ambassadors for 2021 Olympics    Hassan Allam consortium wins contract to manage, operate Grand Egyptian Museum    Enhanced Labs signs Mr. Olympia 2020 "Big Ramy" And His Trainer Dennis James    King Tutankhamun funerary mask is must-see tourist icon: The Telegraph    Seasoned Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed dies at 76    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to resume Nile dam talks today    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





Ethiopian forces begin offensive on Tigray capital, say a diplomat and Tigrayan forces leader
Published in Ahram Online on 28 - 11 - 2020

Ethiopian government forces began an offensive to capture the regional capital Mekelle in the rebellious northern Tigray region on Saturday, said a diplomat in direct contact with residents, and the leader of Tigrayan forces.
The government, which says its military campaign is in its final stages, had given the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) an ultimatum that expired on Wednesday to lay down arms or face an assault on Mekelle, a city of 500,000 people. The government stressed on Saturday that it seeks to protect civilians.
Debretsion Gebremichael, leader of the TPLF, told Reuters in a text message that Mekelle was under “heavy bombardment”. The Ethiopian military is using artillery in the assault, he said in a subsequent text message.
The diplomat said explosions were reported in the north of the city, in the Hamidai area. A second diplomat also said the attack had begun.
Billene Seyoum, a spokeswoman for the prime minister's office, said: “The Ethiopian National Defense Forces do not have a mission to bombard its own city and people. Mekelle remains one of Ethiopia's key cities and the efforts to bring to justice the criminal clique will not entail discriminatory ‘bombardment' as alluded by TPLF and their propagandists.”
She added, “The safety of Ethiopians in Mekelle and Tigray region continues as priority for the federal government”.
Claims from all sides are difficult to verify since phone and internet links to the region have been down and access has been tightly controlled since fighting began on Nov. 4 between forces of the government and the TPLF.
Abiy told African peace envoys on Friday that his government will protect civilians in Tigray. The prime minister has said he regards the conflict as an internal matter and his government has so far rebuffed attempts at mediation.
MILITARY OFFENSIVE
Abiy accuses Tigrayan leaders of starting the war by attacking federal troops at a base in Tigray. The TPLF says the attack was a pre-emptive strike.
Thousands of people are believed to have died and around 43,000 refugees have fled to neighbouring Sudan. The northern region of Tigray also borders the nation of Eritrea.
Debretsion also accused the Eritrean military of crossing the border and raiding refugee camps in Tigray to capture refugees who have fled Eritrea in the past.
Reuters was not immediately able to get comment from the Eritrean government, which has not responded to calls from Reuters for more than two weeks.
United Nations refugee agency chief Filippo Grandi said on Saturday that he was deeply concerned about the 100,000 Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia and what he called unconfirmed reports of violence against them.
“I really want to appeal to the Ethiopian government for exercising maximum responsibility,” he told Reuters in an interview while visiting Sudan on Saturday. “They've always been a very responsible government, they know how to deal with refugees. This has to continue also for the Eritreans in Tigray.”
The TPLF and Eritrea are archenemies: the TPLF was in charge in Addis Ababa when Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a war from 1998-2000. But Eritrea and Abiy have warm relations. The Ethiopian government has denied TPLF accusations that Eritrean troops are operating on Ethiopian soil.
Eritrea is one of the world's most repressive nations. It has never had elections and no independent media has operated there for two decades. Upon turning 18, Eritrean men and women must enter compulsory service to the state for an indefinite amount of time. Around 10% of the population has fled.
On Friday evening in Eritrea, “a loud noise, possibly an explosion” was heard in the capital Asmara, the U.S. Embassy there said in a statement early on Saturday. TPLF rockets hit Eritrea on Nov. 14.
LETTER TO DEFENCE ATTACHES
On Friday, a letter was sent to embassies in Addis Ababa warning defence attaches that they risked expulsion if they were in contact with unnamed enemies of Ethiopia.
“Some military attaches are working with those who endangered the security of the country, identified in blacklist and sought by attorney of the court,” said the letter. The letter was stamped by Brigadier-General Boultie Tadesse of the Defence Foreign Relations Directorate, on the copy seen by Reuters.
A military spokesman and the head of the government's Tigray taskforce did not respond to requests for comment.
Billene, the prime minister's spokeswoman, said she could not address questions about the letter, including whether it was referring to the TPLF, without seeing the original document.
Tigrayans, who make up about 6% of Ethiopia's 115 million population, dominated the government until Abiy took power two years ago.
Abiy pledged to unite Ethiopians and introduce freedoms after years of state repression that filled jails with tens of thousands of political prisoners. His government also put senior Tigrayan officials on trial for crimes such as corruption, torture and murder. The Tigrayan region saw those trials as discrimination.


Clic here to read the story from its source.