Tigrayan forces accuse Eritrea of launching full-scale offensive on border | Eritrea

Date: 2022-09-20T12:11:50.000Z

Location: www.theguardian.com

Forces in Ethiopia’s Tigray region said troops from neighbouring Eritrea launched a “full-scale offensive” on Tuesday and heavy fighting was ongoing in several areas along the border.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the account on Twitter from Getachew Reda, a spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The TPLF has been battling Ethiopian federal forces and their allies for nearly two years.

Eritrean troops entered Tigray to back the Ethiopian military after fighting broke out in November 2020 before withdrawing from most areas last year.

“Eritrea is deploying its entire army as well as reservists. Our forces are heroically defending their positions,” Getachew said.

The Eritrean information minister, Yemane Gebremeskel, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

If confirmed, the offensive would mark an escalation in a war that has displaced millions and triggered a humanitarian disaster across northern Ethiopia.

Getachew said Ethiopian troops and special forces from the Amhara region had also joined the offensive.

An Ethiopian government spokesperson, Legesse Tulu, a military spokesperson, Col Getnet Adane, and the prime minister’s spokesperson, Billene Seyoum, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Gizachew Muluneh, a spokesperson for the Amhara regional government, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Saturday, the Canadian government warned that Eritrea was mobilising armed forces because of the resumption of fighting in Tigray.

Yemane confirmed at the weekend that some reservists were called up but said the government was not mobilising the entire population.

The conflict in Tigray re-erupted on 24 August, breaking a ceasefire in place since March. Earlier this month, Tigrayan forces said they were ready for a ceasefire and would accept an African Union-led peace process.