A humanitarian source said there have been shelling and shooting in the area since the beginning of the hour on Thursday, and nearly two dozen soldiers have been treated at a clinic near the border with the Amhara region. The source did not say which side was injured in the conflict.
“At 5:20 a.m. we started to hear loud shelling. Since then it only stopped for an hour, but by 2 p.m., you can still hear gunshots, bombings and shelling. “, the source said.
“So far nearly two dozen wounded – all soldiers, without civilians – have been treated at Abdurafi’s medical center, located near the Tigray-Amhara border.”
The federal army and regional forces clashed in the northern region on Wednesday, after Abiy ordered them in response to an alleged attack on government forces in the Face area. Tigray People̵7;s Liberation Battle (TPLF).
The TPLF has been the dominant political force in Ethiopia’s multiracial ruling coalition for decades, but gave up after Abiy, a member of the Oromo group, took office two years ago and reorganized the coalition. into a single party.
Tensions with the TPLF have escalated since September, when Tigray held regional elections despite the federal government, which called the vote “illegal”. In recent days, both sides have accused each other of conspiracy to cause military conflict.
Sources said efforts are being made behind the scenes to encourage talks, promoted by the African Union. But the initiative has been opposed by the authorities in Addis Ababa, who insist they must eliminate the threat posed by the TPLF.
“The Ethiopians are saying it’s an internal issue and they will take care of it. They are saying that (TPLF) is a rogue on their borders and this is about the rule of law,” a diplomatic source said. is named.
Redwan Hussein, a spokesperson for the newly formed State Emergency Task Force, told Reuters on Wednesday that a negotiating option “has yet to be given”.
A dozen federal troops were killed on the first day of fighting, a diplomat told Reuters, adding that the death toll could be higher.
No information was available on TPLF casualties. The government has cut off all telephone and internet communications in the area.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to support Abiy in a tweet, which called for immediate action to restore peace and de-escalate the situation but backed a government account that the TPLF was responsible for the violence. .
Pompeo wrote: “We are deeply concerned by reports that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front has launched attacks on the Ethiopian National Self-Defense Force bases in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
Ethiopia has suffered several waves of violence since Abiy took power. Over the weekend, gunmen killed 32 people and burned more than 20 homes in another part of the country, in the west.