Tigray Forces Capture Strategic Ethiopian Town

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) announced on Saturday that they had seized the strategic town of Dessie in Ethiopia’s Amhara region, where tens of thousands of ethnic Amharas have sought refuge from escalating violence.

As Getachew Reda, a spokesperson for the TPLF, said the fighters pushed Ethiopian government forces from Dessie towards Kombolcha.

Tigrayan forces have captured numerous Ethiopian soldiers, he said.

The Ethiopian government is yet to comment on the claims but a school director in Dessie said he saw Ethiopian soldiers retreating from the town on Saturday morning towards Kombolcha and that power across town had been off since Friday.

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The capture of Dessie would be a strategic gain for the Tigrayan fighters against the central government forces trying to drive them out of the Amhara region.

It is the furthest south in Amhara that the TPLF has reached since it pushed into the region in July, some 385 kilometres (240 miles) away from the capital, Addis Ababa.

About a year ago, the TPLF and the federal troops went to war. Thousands of people have been killed, and more than 2 million have fled.

The Tigrayan forces initially lost most of the region, but retook it in July and advanced into the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions.

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Tigrayan forces announced in mid-October that the military had launched a ground offensive to push them out of Amhara.

On Thursday, the military said heavy fighting was taking place there but accused the Tigrayan forces of starting it.

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