Ethiopian Army Says It Freed More Towns from TPLF Control

By Staff Reporter

Tigray-EthiopiaNovember 20, 2020 ( -- Government troops broke through stiff rebel resistance and freed two more towns from the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) forces, Ethiopia’s State of Emergency Task Force has said.

The Task Force in a statement said TPLF fighters have cut roads linking territories to government-controlled areas using bulldozers at a place called Selehlaha in anticipation of launching a strong offensive in the western Tigray front.

“However, after very heavy fighting, the Ethiopian defense forces managed to capture Axum and Adwa towns as well as places such as Entichonin and surrounding areas of Adigrat town,” it said

The central government further said its forces are now heading towards Adigrat town. The task force also said several TPLF fighters including soldiers who joined the TPLF have surrendered to the national army.

The TPLF did not comment on these specific assertions by the government. However, the TPLF said it is fighting the central government and Eritrean forces at a time and place of its choosing and has inflicted heavy casualties so far. Further, the TPLF accused the Eritrean and central government forces of widespread human rights abuses and looting in towns they 'temporarily control'.

The TPLF charges PM Abiy Ahmed has sold the country to foreign forces, especially Eritrea, who it says are fighting side-by-side to invade Tigray from many sides. The TPLF also claims PM Abiy is getting help from the United Arab Emirates, who it said provided the drones, South Sudan, and Somalia.

On Thursday, the TPLF forces claimed it recaptured Raya-Alamata town in eastern Tigray by defeating two brigades of the national defense forces. The federal government rejected the claim.

Meanwhile, the TPLF has fired three rockets at the capital of the neighboring Amhara region. Tigray has a long-running territorial dispute with Amhara primarily around the town of Badme.

Commander of the Ethiopian defense forces Yilma Merdassa said one of the rockets landed on a maize farm outside Bahir Dar. The second one landed on a weeded out water hyacinth, the third one fell in the jungle. There is no independent confirmation that came out of the Amhara region so far.

It is for the second time in less than a week that TPLF fired rockets in what it describes as retaliatory measures against aerial bombings coming primarily from Bahir Dar airport.

Federal forces began marching towards central Tigray on Wednesday after an ultimatum issued by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for the Tigray insurgents to surrender expired earlier this week.

A shutdown in communications has made it difficult to assess the military situation as civilians continue to flee the troubled area.

Relief agencies like the International Crisis Committee say tens of thousands of people have fled Tigray into Sudan.

On November 14, TPLF fired rockets at Eritrean capital Asmara and two Ethiopian cities (Bahir Dar and Gonder). The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, condemned the attack on Asmara calling it an “attempt to internationalize the conflict.”

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