“We are not concerned with the timing, we are concerned with our complete final success,” Tigray region president Debretsion Gebremichael said on Tigray TV on Monday evening.
On Sunday, the Ethiopian prime minister warned members of the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), to surrender “within the next 72 hours, recognizing that you are at a point of no return ”.
But TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda claimed their forces were fighting vigorously on the front lines and suggested that if the regional capital of Mekelle was captured by federal forces, the TPLF would simply change its strategies to retake the towns. fallen. “We will never let him stay safe for a minute,” Reda said Monday on Tigray TV.
On Tuesday, Getachew told Tigray TV that a prestigious Ethiopian army unit – which he called the 21st Mechanized Division – was “completely destroyed” in an assault on Raya-Wahirat led by a former commander of this unit which had defected to the TPLF side, reported Reuters.
Government forces say they are now closing in on Mekelle ahead of the promised “final phase” of the military operation there after a stern warning to Tigrayan forces to surrender.
The Federal Army said the third and final phase of the military operation included plans to surround the regional capital Mekelle with tanks, warning civilians to beware of artillery.
The Ethiopian federal government declared “war” on the TPLF earlier this month. Nobel Prize winner Abiy has ordered the Ethiopian Defense Force (EDF) to conduct a “law enforcement operation” in the region, which includes airstrikes.
The conflict threatens to undo years of progress in Africa’s second most populous country and the troubled Horn of Africa region.
Hundreds of people have died and nearly 39,000 refugees have fled to neighboring Sudan, including 17,000 children, according to the UN. Aid organizations are struggling to deliver services amid the refugee tsunami.
“The response is intensifying, but the influx of arrivals is exceeding capacity on the ground and additional funding is urgently needed,” UN Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric said at the meeting. ‘a press briefing on Monday.
The conflict spread to Eritrea, where the TPLF fired rockets, and also affected Somalia where Ethiopia disarmed several hundred Tigrayans in a peacekeeping force fighting militants linked to Al- Qaeda.
Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa and President of the African Union, met with Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde on Friday.
The European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom have called for de-escalation since the start of the conflict.