Tigrayan forces claimed on Tuesday to have launched a new offensive in the northern region of Ethiopia, two weeks after the Federal Government declared a unilateral ceasefire in the face of rebel advances.
The offensive was launched just two days after election results showed Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had won a landslide in a June election that went ahead despite the Tigray conflict that has battered his global reputation.
According to a spokesman for the Tigrayan forces, Getachew Reda, they had seized Alamata, the main town in southern Tigray, after launching the offensive on Monday.
Reda says although fighting is also taking place in western Tigray, they plan to liberate every square inch of Tigray.
“Yesterday (Monday) we launched an offensive in (the southern region of) Raya and were able to absolutely rout federal defense forces and Amhara special forces divisions,”
“We have been able to secure most of southern Tigray including Korem and Alamata (the main town in the area)”.
Getachew said TDF fighters are still “in hot pursuit” of pro-government fighters.
The Tigray Defence Forces last month swept across large parts of Tigray and seized the regional capital Mekele after eight months of brutal conflict with federal troops.
The TDF had described its seizure of Mekele and most of Tigray as a major victory and branded the government’s unilateral ceasefire a “joke.”
The fighting marked by grisly massacres and widespread sexual violence has killed thousands of people, while the United Nations says hundreds of thousands are on the brink of famine.
Security forces and officials from the neighboring Amhara region had moved into both the southern and western areas of Tigray in November in support of the Ethiopian army after Tigrayan forces cleared out during the early phase of the war.