The Ethiopian prime minister assures that his country is capable of solving the conflict “by itself”
JOHANNESBURG.- The leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF) confirmed this Sunday the launch in the last hours of several projectiles against Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, in what represents a significant escalation of the open conflict between the group and the Ethiopian Government.
Debretsion Gebremichael has confirmed in a message that his forces are fighting against “16 Eritrean divisions” although he has offered no evidence beyond the statement. On the attack itself, he has confirmed several “missile” attacks on the Asmara airport, which he described as a “legitimate target”.
The exact number of projectiles that have finally fallen on the capital of this African country is unknown, but reports from regional media and international newspapers such as ‘The Telegraph’ or the ‘BBC’ agree that at least two projectiles have reached the place .
For now, the US Embassy in Eritrea has advised citizens to remain at home while waiting to verify the incident.
The Embassy does have evidence of a series of “loud noises heard in Asmara, which could be explosive devices that could have detonated in the vicinity of the international airport, although there is nothing to indicate that the airport has been hit.”
The attack on Eritrea represents a new extension in the conflict by the TPLF after it launched several rockets on Saturday against two other airports controlled by the Ethiopian Government in the Ethiopian cities of Gondar and Bahir Dar, in the Amhara region (north from the country).
In an intervention prior to the events in Eritrea on the Tigray TV station, the TPLF leader had acknowledged the rocket attacks and had not excluded other actions either against Ethiopia or against Eritrea, which he accused of sending military personnel to support his neighbor, according to the Russian agency Sputnik.
Eritrea and Ethiopia had an armed conflict that lasted two decades until 2018 when a peace agreement was signed that earned Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019. “LASTING PEACE AND HARMONY”
The Ethiopian Prime Minister assured this Sunday that his country is capable of solving the open conflict against the TPLF “by itself” in a statement issued after the attack on Eritrea.
“Thanks to the exceptional value of its sons and daughters, this country is more than capable of solving the objectives of the operation by itself,” Abiy said in a brief statement posted on his official Twitter account.
In the note, the prime minister describes his campaign against the TPLF in the Tigray region as an operation to “defend the rule of law.” “Make good progress and justice will prevail,” said the president.
“In our effort to advance the rule of law and hold those who destabilize Ethiopia accountable, we are laying the foundation for lasting peace and harmony,” he added.
THE CLIMB OF THE CONFLICT
The TPLF has historically been the dominant party in the coalition that has ruled Ethiopia since 1991. However, the arrival of the prime minister to power in April 20018 progressively altered the balance of power to the point that the TPLF refused join the new party founded by Abiy.
Since then, the tension between the government in Adís Adeba and this political group that governs the Tigray region has grown gradually. Elections were recently held in the area despite the government mandate to postpone them to 2021 due to the coronavirus.
Finally, the Government of Abiy announced an offensive on November 5 accusing the TPLF of attacking military bases in the country. The communications cut in the region makes it difficult to know the scope and human cost of the conflict, although casualties are already estimated in the hundreds.
Amnesty International and the Ethiopian Executive have accused the TPLF of carrying out massacres of civilians, something that Tigray denies, while human rights organizations have warned of the possible dangers for the population.
© 2020 Europa Press.
Despite the lack of figures, authorities on the ground have detected a large flow of refugees fleeing the conflict in the direction of Sudan, the neighboring country where at least 17,000 refugees would have arrived, according to the UN refugee agency ( UNHCR) in the country.