“Our country has entered an unwanted war. War will not come to the center. It will end there, ”at Tigray, deputy commander of the Ethiopian National Self-Defense Force, Birhanu Jula, said on state television.
A statement issued by the regional government on Tigray television claimed government fighters had bombed the suburbs of the region’s capital, Mekele, but such reports could not be confirmed. Communication, including Internet and telephone connections, was cut off in the region this week.
The Ethiopian government has not yet commented on the bombing allegations, and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed̵7;s spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Clashes erupted at Tigray on Wednesday after Abiy, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, sent troops into Tigray province and declared a “military confrontation” after regional authorities attacked a military base federal. Abiy accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the dominant political force for decades in the country’s multi-ethnic ruling coalition, of trying to steal artillery and other military equipment. during the attack.
A senior British Foreign Ministry official who, who remains anonymous to comment on the volatile conflict, said he had heard “extremely contradictory” reports of events on the ground in Tigray. He said he had heard of military casualties but said the communications network had been cut off and it was difficult to confirm the reports.
The official confirmed that international efforts to reduce the escalation of tensions were underway and said the United States wanted “to be as helpful as possible to promote a peaceful solution.”
The official has denied comments that Ethiopia is engaged in a war, saying that “is not a sovereign state fighting against another sovereign state”.
Debretsion Gebremichael, president of the Tigray region, told reporters “we are in a position to protect ourselves from the enemies that have waged war in the Tigray area. . . . We are ready to be martyrs ”.
Human Rights Watch urged Abiy’s government to immediately restore communications with the region, saying that this would hinder critical coverage of events affecting health and safety. Full of people in Tigray.
“It also undermines their right to question government accounts about events,” Mausi Segun, Africa’s director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
Wroughton reports from Cape Town, South Africa. Morello reports from Washington.