Abi said that he remains committed to peace-even if there is a “cost”-but the recent attacks will not go unanswered.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed promised that after the rebels in Tigray launched a new offensive to regain territories from war-torn areas, the country’s “enemy” attacks would be repelled.
This week, two weeks after the federal government announced a unilateral ceasefire in the face of the rebel offensive, the Tigrin forces claimed to have won a series of battlefield victories in a new round of offensive.
The most recent rebellion was carried out after the Federal Army’s amazing retake of the regional capital of Mekle last month. This was a turning point in an eight-month brutal conflict that has caused thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands. People face famine.
On Wednesday, Abi said that he remains committed to peace-even if there is a “cost”-but these latest attacks will not go unanswered.
He said in a statement on Twitter: “We will defend and repel these attacks by our internal and external enemies, while working to accelerate humanitarian efforts.”
In November last year, Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy sent troops into Tigray after accusing the once dominant party in the region of planning an attack on an Ethiopian military base.
He said that Ethiopia has indicated its willingness to end the hostilities in the northern mountains.
“We have implemented a unilateral ceasefire to avoid further conflicts, allow people to be eased during the farming season, and allow aid operations to proceed for no reason,” he said.
“Even though we know that peace will cost us some price, we still chose peace.”
But he said Ethiopia’s enemies “cannot rest in peace without conflict” and accused them of using child soldiers.
He urged Ethiopians to remain united, stand behind the Ethiopian army, and resist “external pressure and internal provocations.”
The ruling party overwhelmingly won the power of Abiy in the conflict-torn country in the recently concluded parliamentary elections.
A spokesperson for the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) told AFP on Tuesday that they had taken Alamata, the main town in southern Tigray, and pushed it to the west of the region that has long been fighting for fertile farmland. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the main political party in the region, recently changed its name to the Tigray Defence Force (TDF).
As communications in the area were largely interrupted, the rebels’ claims could not be independently verified, but United Nations and humanitarian sources reported that fighting took place around towns and refugee camps in western Tigray.
Abi and Ethiopian officials described their withdrawal from Merkel as a strategic move, while TDF described it as a major victory for the rebels, and announcing a ceasefire was a “joke.”
However, they later accepted it “in principle” while demanding the withdrawal of troops from neighboring Eritrea and the Amhara region of Ethiopia.
This war, characterized by terrible massacres and rampant sexual violence, damaged Abi’s status as a reformer and peacemaker, and severely strained Ethiopia’s relationship with its traditional allies.
Western powers demand a ceasefire with unrestricted access to aid and the withdrawal of Eritrean troops, and warn that they may be sanctioned if these conditions are not met.
The World Food Program said this week that it has provided Merkeler with food supplies, but it needs more food to meet the huge demand in areas where the United Nations says there is already a famine.