Agegnehu Teshager, the President of Ethiopia’s Amhara Regional State, has called on “all young people” in the area to take up arms against fighters from neighbouring Tigray.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) are battling Ethiopia’s military and forces from all of the Horn of Africa’s other nine regions in an eight-month-old conflict that has destabilised the nation.
The Federal Government may be using a decade-old land dispute to fuel an eight-month conflict between Tigray and Amhara, its northern neighbours.
Amhara’s military claimed the TPLF fighters were now attacking the state. President Teshager makes the call to arms just two days after such a call was issued by the leader of Ethiopia’s Afar region.
“I call on all young people, militia, non-militia in the region, armed with any government weapon, armed with personal weapons, to join the anti-TPLF war mission from tomorrow,” Teshager told the region’s state media.
Armed conflict erupted in November between the Ethiopian army and the TPLF, which governs northern Ethiopia.
Three weeks into the war, Ethiopian forces captured Mekelle, Tigray’s capital and declared victory. However, the TPLF continued to fight and retook Mekelle and much of Tigray after six months.
TPLF forces last week pushed their offensive to Afar, their eastern neighbours, announcing they planned to target Amhara troops fighting alongside the federal military.
Afar spokesman, Ahmed Koloyta, while confirming the offensive from the TPLF, said “Now [Ethiopian military] are on their way and we will work with them to eliminate [Tigrayan forces].”
The Afar region is a crucial road and rail link between the capital Addis Ababa and the seaport of Djibouti for landlocked Ethiopia.
On Saturday, Amhara’s special forces commander, Brigadier General Tefera Mamo, confirmed the conflict had entered the region.
“The terrorist group has started a war in the Amhara and Afar regions and is also harassing Ethiopians,” Tefera said, referring to TPLF. “Amhara Special Forces are fighting in coordination with other security forces.”
According to the United Nations, thousands have died in the fighting, with about two million displaced and more than five million others relying on emergency food aid.
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