Ethiopian authorities announce that its forces will not advance in Tigray

The Ethiopian government said that the armed forces in the Afar and Amhara regional states had been ordered to cease further incursions in the north of the country.

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Legesse Tullu, Minister in Charge of Government Communication Service stated that the military offensive’s goal was to liberate the Amara and Afar regions from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and prevent it from re-emerging as a security concern.

Also, he pointed out that for this purpose, the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and partner forces have inflicted significant losses on the TPLF and drove the terrorist group from eastern Amhara and the whole Afar region.

“Our assessment is that the military capacity, will, and motivation of the TPLF has been effectively incapacitated. However, if the TPLF continues to pose a threat to our security the Ethiopian government will respond in kind depending on the well-thought study. The government decided that ENDF will remain in areas it has liberated,” Tullu said.

The leader of Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region claimed earlier this week that all TPLF forces have been recalled.

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Debretsion Gebremichael announced that his forces, which were apparently closing in on Addis Ababa’s capital, had been recalled to Tigray to allow the international community to advocate for a peace process.

“I am writing on behalf of the people of Tigray and the National Regional Government of Tigray to reiterate our call for peace,” said Gebremichael.

“I have ordered those units of the Tigray army that are outside the borders of Tigray to withdraw to the borders of Tigray with immediate effect. We trust that our bold act of withdrawal will be a decisive opening for peace,” he added.

Meanwhile, TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda announced on Twitter on Monday that the TPLF has finished withdrawing its fighters from the Amhara and Afar regions. “By doing so, we believe we have taken away whatever excuse the international community has to explain its feet-dragging when it comes to putting pressure on Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his regional partners in crime to stop their campaign in Tigray,” said Reda.

The administration, on the other hand, refuted Tigrayan rebels’ claims on Tuesday that they were retiring freely from the northern Afar and Amhara areas, claiming that government forces pushed them out.

Since November 2020, the Ethiopian army has been fighting Tigrayan rebels. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), acute food insecurity currently affects more than 9.4 million people in northern Ethiopia. In Tigray, 5.2 million people, or about 90 percent of the population, require humanitarian assistance.

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