The governing Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said Ethiopia’s national army has launched a ground offensive against forces from the northern region of Tigray on Monday.
TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda said the army and allied forces from the northern Amhara region commenced operation to push Tigrayan forces out of Amhara in the morning.
The Tigray external affairs office said in a statement airstrike, drone raids, and heavy artillery bombardments was also under way in the conflict-ridden region.
Billene Seyoum, spokeswoman for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, said the Ethiopian government had a responsibility to protect its citizens in all parts of the country from any acts of “terrorism”.
She added, without elaborating, that “the government of Ethiopia will continue to counter the TPLF’s destruction, violence and killings in the Amhara region and elsewhere”
The resumption of military operation has shattered a ceasefire that Ethiopia’s government declared in June as its forces retreated from Tigray, where it had been pursuing the Tigray leaders who had dominated the national government for 27 years before Abiy’s emergence.
Thousands of people have been displaced or murdered since the political stalemate turned deadly in November last year. The fighting has made about 5.2 million people in Tigray – more than 90 percent of the population – and another 1.7 million people in Afar and Amhara reliant on food aid.
Amhara and Tigray have a decades-long dispute over territory after Tigray expanded its borders a quarter of a century ago to include fertile farmlands also claimed by the Amhara region.
In June, Tigrayan forces took back control of most of Tigray, forcing the national military to withdraw. Tigrayan forces then invaded the neighbouring region of Amhara in July, saying it was a tactic to try to force Amhara forces out of the heavily militarised region.
The Amhara regional spokesman signalled on Twitter last week an offensive against Tigrayan forces could be imminent, and since Friday there have been heavy air raids reported in several Tigrayan-held areas of Amhara.
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